^ ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
I,, JULY 30-AU6UST 5, 1967
1^ and LOAN ASSOCIATION ^^^
( INSURED SAVINGS )
( HOME LOANS )
Left to Right - C.L. Morgan, Jude Tarner, Marian Nicol, Rhonda Buckner, Barbara Buckner and R.H. Pettit
MAY WE, THE YOUNGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IN THIS
COMMUNITY, EXTEND OLD FASHIONED, WARM-HEARTED
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CITY OF ROCK FALLS FOR
COMPLETING A FINE CENTURY OF PROGRESS.
MERRILL M. BENSON
DR. LEROY DANREITER
JOHN M. DILLON
WILLIAM E- HILL, JR.
JOHN A. LAWRENCE
RAY H. PETTIT
KENNARD J. BESSE
JOHN M. DILLON
RAY H. PETTIT
EXEC. VICE PRESIDENT
DR. LEROY DANREITER
MERRILL M. BENSON
SAUK VALLEY CC LIBRARY
3 1516 00016 3319
"-^-'' "^ o d SEWER DEPARTMENTS ^^^^
ELECTRIC, WATER and SEW ^^^^^^^^^^^^^.^.==^
JAMES e- ■■*
PAUL. "■ A
JOSEPH *■ P*"
, Fello>^ Residents centennial
priends and tex „„pmorating ^^^^ „ur gala
Guests, Frie .^ Commejno^ ^^^^ °^°e thanks
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celebration, and achi^ persons an ^^^^^
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ledge ^J^^.^ry of ^""^ . foundation on v»i^^ -^i tho;
Success Story ^^^^ ^^" the fut-"'' ^""^^
propi'^-^'T. „ + 4on ot !"'*■■■' ^vip oast <-«■■ ' .-,-,
'■■'•• r,,S;'S ."•»>. •••' "• ,„.„„.. ..-;;;•.;•, "S.
and resolve , ,,v, to take ^^^J "^fen^^y "^°
f"^'''^^' -.1 of «s, I «^t'' uos ■worked diHe
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SAUK VALLEY COLLEGE
THROUGH THE YEARS IN ROCK FALLS HISTORY
1867 A. P. Smith purchases site of Rock Falls.
1868 Post Office is established. Methodist Church is organized.
Gait and Tracy start machine shop.
1869 Rock. Falls is incorporated as a village. Smith & Smith
flouringmill is built;also the mitten factory. E.G.W. Parks
paper mill is built.
1870 Population 471. R.H. &R.H. Sheldon, Jr. erect implement
house. Keystone Mfg. Co. is organized.
1871 Eureka Mfg. Co. is org nized. The railroad comes to Rock
1872 Industrial Building is built at a cost of $50, 000. Globe Mills
begin operations .
1873 H.F. Batcheller establishes Enterprise Works.
1874 First bank is organized in October. Keystone Burial Case
Co. is established. White Swan Ferry starts operating be-
between Rock Falls and Sterling.
1875 The Congregational Church is organized.
1876 Pippert Meat Market begins business.
1877 The Immanuel Lutheran Church is organized. Truman Cul-
ver opens a shoe store.
1878 The free bridge over Rock River is built.
1879 Northwestern Barbed Wire Co. is organized.
1880 Population 894. First high school class of 6 graduates. Big
distillery fire; 1200 steers burned.
1881 A.C. Stanley buys Newton's Grocery Store.
1882 The Rock Falls News is established.
1883 TheCB&QrailroadbridgeisbuiltoverRockRiver. I.O.O.F.
Cemetery is established.
1884 Batcheller Enterprize Works has a bad fire. The Creamery
Package Company manufactures over 400,000 butter tubs.
1885 Geo. W. Packer purchases the E.F. Brock Co., manufac-
turers of the Yankee hand sled, butter tub machinery and
1887 First Building and Loan Ass'n. is begun. Rock River on
1888 CB &Q covered bridge burns . Stone Building of Merrill School
1889 Old schoolhouseis purchased for City Hall. Village becomes
1890 Population 1900.
1891 Paper Mill explosion, 4 men killed. The Stanley house is
1892 Bob sleds on sale at H.F. Batcheller & Sons - $10.00.
2 pound can of salmon - 15(, picnic hams - 8(! a pound,
granulated sugar, 23 lbs. for $1.00.
1893 Grubb's Restaurant advertises 6 meals for $1.00. 320 acres
of land for sale for $50.00 an acre.
1894 Telephone line installed between Rock Falls and Tampico.
1895 First electric light plant begun. Public schools closed on
account of diphtheria.
1896 A.J. McNeil Hardware Store and the Rock Falls News burn
on January 3.
1897 First Christian Church is organized.
1898 Spanish American War begins; local boys mustered into
army on May 11. Browning Club is organized at the home of
Mrs. A.J. McNeil.
1899 The Frank Building is built. Street names are changed.
There is a city curfew; everyone under 16 must be home by
1900 Population 2176. Culver block is built by Hardesty.
1901 City holds special program in memory of assassinated
President Grover McKinley. Start using steam scrapers in
building of canal.
1902 Johnston Lumber Co. begins business here. Corn is 5H! a
bushel, wheat 65( and oats 39^.
1903 City discovers case of small pox.
1904 Keystone Co. begins manufacture of trucks. Avenue G bridge
1905 Sowles and Rubins begin businesses here. Seventh Day
Adventist Church is organized. Kelley and Beales conduct
Saturday night dances in Frank's Hall.
1906 Avenue G bridges go out in ice jam. International Harvester
has a $25,000 warehouse fire. An automobile is developed
at the Keystone works of the International Harvester.
1907 Feeder Canal opens on October 24. The RB&W purchases
Cobb and Drew.
1908 Local option for saloons. Coloma votes 373 "yes" and 381
"no." Bridge over Howland Creek is built.
1910 Population 2657. First Corn Carnival. Sam Frank begins
selling Fords. Daniels begin business.
1911 Kelley triplets are born. Daggett's Drug Store begins. Rock
Falls Woman's Club is organized.
1913 Wheelocks begin business here. Rock River Country Club is
organized. Large electric Rock Falls sign, just east of First
Avenue Bridge is erected by Rock Falls Woman's Club.
1914 J.H. Rhyne comes to Rock Falls via canal on houseboat.
1915 Because of scarcity of wheat, bread very likely to go up to
6^! a loaf. Many cattle are being killed because of hoof and
mouth disease. City of Rock Falls adopts commission form
1916 Our boys go to the war to end all wars.
1917 Sam Frank selling Ford touring cars for $360.00. Butter is
4H!, eggs 42^: and E.G. Kelsey complains that leather is 75^1
1918 November 11, Armistice is declared.
1919 There is rationing of coal due to shipping difficulties. Paper
mill warehouse at Fifth Avenue and West Second Street burns.
1920 Population 2927. Geyers barn and factory on Second Avenue
burns. Mechling Barge Line begins business onfeeder canal.
1921 Girardi Building is built.
1922 January 22, the Methodist Church is a total loss by fire.
First Rock Falls National Bank closes its doors June 5.
1923 Present First Avenue Bridge is built. W.J. McCarthy opens
feed business at 103 Dixon Avenue.
1925 Hill Electric Company begins business.
192 7 Election to annex Rock Falls to Sterling - defeated.
1928 Lawrence Park is dedicated. RB&W erects $150,000 addi-
tion. Mott Co. and Vavra Paper Box Co. begin operations.
1930 Population 3893. Parrish-Alford Co. is purchased by North-
western Steel and Wire and moved to Rock Falls.
1931 Frank Seward Grocery and Filling Station begins business.
1932 Rock Falls Dairy begins business.
1934 Christian Church has bad fire on February 5.
1935 Corn Carnival is revived.
1936 First sewage treatment plant is begun.
1938 New Rock Falls Post Office is opened.
1939 Humphrey Agency begins business.
1940 Population 4987.
1941 December 7, Pearl Harbor is bombed.
1945 New Rock Falls Bank opens, November 25.
1947 International Harvester has $150,000 fire.
1948 The new Avenue G bridges are built.
1949 Thome School addition is built. Rock Falls Assembly of God
Church is organized.
1950 Population 7983. (Note the over 3000 gain in population in
last decade.) Wheelocks Furniture Store and the Christian
Church are destroyed by fire. St. Andrews Church is organ-
1951 First Southern Baptist Church is organized in Trager Hall.
1952 Illinois Forge Co. Is organized. Glenna Pohly becomes
1955 Population 10,208. (Note the over 2200 gain in population in
only 5 years.) Community Presbyterian Church is organized.
1956 Larson Co. moves to Rock Falls and begins production
1957 Geyer Manufacturing Co; is sold to Wood, Shovel and Tool.
First Church of the Nazarene is organized. Congregational
Church occupies new sanctuary.
1958 Basketball team of Rock Falls High School wins second place
in State Basketball Tournament.
1959 New band shelter is built in Veterans Memorial Park.
Maranatha Baptist Church is organized.
1960 Population 10,261. New Rock Falls Bank Building is built.
1961 International Harvester Co. leaves Rock Falls.
1962 First scheduled flight by Ozark Airlines to Whiteside County
1963 East 11th Street bridge over canal is built to new Industrial
1964 New Civic Center is built.
1965 New Dixon Avenue bridge is built. Wood, Shovel and Tool
Co. closes its doors. Community- Youth Building is built.
1966 Videocraft Co. moves into part of Old International Building.
1967 Rock Falls is 100 years old. Lawrence Brothers build new
shipping facility near Rock Falls .
SPANNING A CENTURY
FROM RAProS TO ROCKETS
In this day of rockets and space travel we are taking time in
this year of Our Lord, 1967, to look backward in time to the be-
ginnings of our community and city known as Rock Falls. Our city
lies on the south bank of beautiful Rock River at a site, which be-
fore the dams were built, had many rapids. We have seen many
changes through the years and yet, essentially we are the same.
The river's rapids are still there, though covered by several feet
of water -yet still living; our forebears are still here;though buried
in mother earth, they still live on in history and memory and through
In this book, we hope to take you back into time. Yet never for-
getting that we must still live in the present and look to the future.
A city that stands still, dies. We must, even while enjoying the
past, prepare for a future of growth and progress. It is only through
good schools, more business and industry and unselfish devotion
and loyalty to our community that we can hope to progress to a bet-
ter future for "our town" ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS U.S.A.
It is with a great deal of appreciation that the compiler of this
booklet acknowledges the historians of the past and the help of many
people in the present.
As this is a souvenir booklet, we could not hope to cover and in-
clude all the historical events, to our present time. Nor could we
possibly name all the individuals whohavecontributed to the history
of our community. If there are inaccuracies, we regret them, but
historians and other "old timers" do not always agree.
We owe thanks to all the individuals who have done research on
the various facets of our booklet. Especially, do we acknowledge the
help and cooperation of the Sterling-Rock Falls Historical Society.
We have endeavored to compile this booklet to the best of our
ability and with impartiality. As E. Searles said, quoted from the
City Directory of 1877, "should any feel disposed to criticize the
imperfections and errors which in a work of this kind, must neces-
sarily occur owing to the imperfections of human understanding,
the writer would only reply to such critic, by reminding him that
nothing is so easy and so natural as to criticize what one has not
the ability (and we might add time) to improve" . Instead of ten years,
we have had 100 years of history to research.
The following are a list of books from which we obtained most
of the early history: "History of Whiteside County"' by Bent-Wilson
published in 1877; "Biennial Directory of Sterling and Rock Falls"
published by A.J. Booth and Co. in 1877-78; "Holland's Sterling
and Rock Falls Directory" published in 1875; "History of Whiteside
County" edited by W.W. Davis in 1908; "Portrait and Biographical
Album" by Chapman Brothers in 1885; 1877 and 1912 Atlas; plus
several personal scrapbooks and old newspaper files, which we
have used as background material .
-La Verne D. Montgomery
"RAPIDS TO ROCKETS"
Rivers carrying boats, Indian trails guiding wagons, cabins from
logs and food from wildlife. . . that was the beginning of Rock Falls,
with its modern marinas for water sportsmen, its highways and
paved streets, duplex houses, motels and prefabricated buildings,
steel structured factories and businesses, offering all that's needed
to be comfortable. The cautious, uneducated pioneer has progressed
to the fast moving pace of a factory engineer or business employee
educated in our school system and often given an opportunity for
further education through local organizations that have developed
along with the city.
It is doubtful that on May 8, 1832, when Blackhawk and his war-
riors followed paths that are now our paved streets, he or anyone
else could imagine where those roads would someday lead. The trail
they followed goes from our present day Prophetstovra Road, straight
to 11th Avenue, right-angled to 5th Street, across to 8th Avenue and
the present Lutheran Church, north toward the river and 2nd Street,
and finally to Dixon Avenue which led to the Dixon Ferry via the
Rook Island Road. 1,900 United States troops camped in our area
while in pursuit of Blackhawk. Among them were Jefferson Davis,
Zachary Taylor, and Samuel Whiteside. Abraham Lincoln, 23, came
from New Salem to lead a company of volunteers against Blackhawk.
On January 16, 1836, Whiteside County was formed, named in
honor of General Samuel Whiteside, the same officer who fought in
the Indian wars from 1812 to the end of the Blackhawk War. It was
his troops that left Prophetstown in flames in 1832.
In 1837 Isaac Merrill, ouf first permanent citizen, settled here
in Coloma Township. He was joined in a few weeks by Edward At-
kins, and in the fall, by Noah Merrill and Daniel Brooks. Noah
settled on the south side of the river opposite Eagle Island, the
fourth island down from our present dam. His cabin was completed
and prairie broke by 1838. Brooks built his one room cabin in the
fall of 1837 in what is now the first ward of Rock Falls. Brooks and
Noah Merrill had married sisters, so in the winter of 1837 and
1838, the two families consisting of 11 people lived in Brooks' one
room cabin. They had one bed and the floor as sleeping quarters.
Noah's son. Nelson B. Merrill, was born November 6, 1838 and is
believed to be the first white child born in Coloma Township.
The first hotel in the area was started by Edward Atkins . It stood
in the center of First Avenue, facing the river.
Atkins, along with A.B. Wheeler, Isaac Merrill and Daniel
Brooks, laid out the town of Rapids City. It was a mile square, oc-
cupying the tract where Rock Falls now stands .
Eight other gentlemen had moved to Coloma Township by Febru-
ary of 1839. They were Ira Sillaman, Zurah Chapman, W.W.Durant,
Samuel B. Gushing, John J. Gushing, Frank Gushing, Herman Em-
mons and L.H. Woodworth. Durant opened a small store, the first
in this vicinity.
At this time the state decided to embark upon an extensive in-
ternal improvement system. Rapids City was to have a canal which
would facilitate navigation up the river. The contract for the canal
was let to Ethan Nichols in 1839. He died in the same year, so the
contract fell in the hands of his brother and Sanger and Galbreath.
L.H. Woodworth became engineer in charge, his profession before
The construction of the canal drew new settlers to Rapid City.
The businesses grew and the town was prosperous. Sanger and
Nichols opened a large store just west of the Industrial Building. A
large workmen's shack was built to house the workers. It was lo-
cated on the land to be later occupied by the home of A. P. Smith.
The shack could house two families and contained a large stone
fireplace. Later it was used to house families who were building
The canal had progressed about half a mile between Avenues A
and D, $40,000 having been spent already, when the sudden happi-
ness of Rapids City turned just as quickly to despair. Financial
panic hit the country and work on the canal ceased as did the town.
Settlers picked up and left to find a living. The workmen scattered
in the directions from which they came. The town was a ghost that
only echoed the fallen dreams of its settlers. The Atkins' house stood
like a lone sentry. Durant's store, the workmen's shack, L.H.
Woodworth's cabin and Daniel Brooks cabin were left to carry on.
Edward Atkins sold his interests in the town which included a
valuable interest in the waterfront to James E. Cooley of New York.
During the same winter a tribe of about 30 Winnebago Indians camp-
ed in the vicinity, leaving in the spring of 1844 never to return again.
Cooley pursuaded his brother-in-law, RichardArey, to takeover
the hotel. He arrived with his wife and five children on May 11,
1844. Atkins and his family moved to a smaller house. DanBatchel-
ler and John Enderton were the only new settlers during 1844. New
businesses were nil on the south side of the river. AH supplies had
to be bought in Sterling and brought across the river by boat or
fording the river. In the winter, they were carried across the ice.
The roads at the time were still glorified Indian trails, the main
one being from Dixon's Ferry to Prophetstown, used mostly by im-
migrants going west. The 'lone tree' existed in a timber at Fair
Point, a bend in the river. It was a honey locust tree of gigantic
proportions which could be seen for miles around on a clear day.
Travelers fancied it as a schooner at sea. It was a guidepost for
many travelers until 1860, when a tornado whipped and twisted it to
Up until this time not much had been done about organizing the
town. The settlers were occupied with making a living. But in 1849
an election was held in the county to allow the people to vote for or
DIAL 625-0220 or 625-0367
113 E. THIRD ST.
1304 ROUTE 30
ROCK FALLS, ILL.
WIKE BROS. MOWING
Bennett Drive Rock Falls, Illinois
HOURS: 9 TO S
EVENINGS BY APPOINTMENT
DR. L. D. AHRENS
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
303 WEST SECOND STREET
TELEPHON E 625-0370
904 1ST AVENUE ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
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Blue Island, Illinois
against township organization. The vote passed and the county was
laid out in townships, ours being Rapids with Montmorency attached
for the time being. Hume was Imown as Jackson.
The division, names and boundaries of the townships were de-
cided byL.D'. Crandell, L.H. Woodworth and William Pollock under
the new township organization law adopted at the election of Novem-
ber 4, 1851. On February 24, 1852, the township of Rapids was
ehanged to Coloma with Montmorency remaining a part of Coloma
Richard Arey's hotel was used as the meeting place for the first
town meeting, Tuesday, April 6, 1852. Arey was named chairman
and L.H. Woodworth was named moderator. Arey was also named
clerk and supervisor; A.W. Worthington, town clerk; L.H. Wood-
worth, assessor; A.F.R. Emmons, collector; Frank Gushing and
Samuel Emmons, justices of the peace; and Sydney Barber, over-
seer of highways. The same meeting also passed a resolution that
on the final day of May, it would be illegal to allow swine to run at
large within the township. The fine was set at$1.00 per head on any
loose hogs, shoats or pigs. It was to be paid along with any damage
done by the animals, by the owner. The decision was also made to
assess town property$5.00 to defray the incidental expenses of the
town. L.W. Cook was named overseer of the poor, L.L. Emmons,
John Mason and Isaac Sturtevant as commissioners of highways, and
A.F.R. Emmons, constable.
These were the beginnings otanorganized town. The laws passed
were suited to their needs. Foresight could be seen in the appoint-
ment of an individual to tend to the poor, and in having 4 men to take
care of so few roads. Their minds were with the future, as were
the others mentioned in the original minute book (still in existence)
such as J.C. Sturtevant, Herman Bassett, Henry Aument, J.G.
Wood, John Enderston, Charles King, Newton Sturtevant, Joseph
Golder and John D. Arey, (son of Richard). As the council and their
ideas grew, the meeting place was changed in 1856 to the school-
house. District 4, on Dixon Road.
The river was the backbone to our township and interests were
always centered around it. In 1855, the first power dam was built
by Sterling interests, and a year later the residents of Coloma built
a bridge by subscription, only to have it washed away by the spring
torrents before it was ever used.
In 1858 the township was still small, with only 31 houses and
two schoolhouses. In the 1862 election, only 22 votes were polled.
In an 1865 vote, as to whether a tax should be raised for paying
bounties to Civil War volunteers, only 29 votes were cast, 24 yeas
and 5 nays, but the scene was soon to change.
In 1867, A. P. Smith bought 65 acres of land on the south side of
the river, including that area occupied by the old workmen's shack.
He hired John Arey to survey and lay out the town of Rock Falls.
The plat of land was then recorded on January 28, 1868, at the
county seat. This was the beginning of the Rock Falls we know as
our town. The first child bom in our village was Lenoretta Barker,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Barker. Gideon Reynolds and Mary
Arey were the first to be wedded in 1867, and B.C. Hunt was the
first to pass away, in 1868.
We were a new town, with little organization. The people were
few, but they were eager and ready to corporate themselves into a
village of their own. They held their first town meeting on January
26, 1869, after a public notice made by Truman Culver and John
Arey was given to all. Unsurprisingly, the vote was unanimous,
and we were on our way to becoming a real town. The votes that
made the decision were cast by Truman Culver, J.L. Morrell, H.
Hendricks, J. Smith, J.L. Backus, E.M. Day, C. Smith, W.E.
Robins, W.L. Smith, W.W. Brown, Richard Arey, C.K. Brown,
H.P. Price, J. A. Bickford and F.E. Palmer. William L. Smith
was our first elected president and H.P. Price our clerk.
The following month, February 4, another election was held in
Culver's store. It was decided that we needed 5 trustees to repre-
sent our town. 48 votes were cast which elected W.L. Smith, Wm.
H. Shephard, Eli Geiger, Henry P. Price and J. A. Bickford. Gei-
ger was also named treasurer, Charles H. Wellman was appointed
constable, J. A. Patterson as supervisor, and John Arey as survey-
or. William Smith was also named street commissioner, and Eli
Eckman, pound master. On the 26th of the month, the newly elected
Board of Trustees directed the clerk to order a seal for our town
with the following inscription in the center, "Fundo in Tempero".
Prohibiting the sale of malt liquors in quantities of less than a gal-
lon was the first town ordinance, also passed at this meeting. They
decided no licenses for saloons should be granted, which started a
long debate and created the first split in political ideas as to whether
a 'license' or 'no-license' party was to be elected and gain control
of the town. The license party won three elections and the no-license
party won five. In the meantime the population grew from 471 in
1870 to over a 1,000 in 1877. . . .and the town kept growing. New
tracts of land were purchased for new businesses. On January 19,
1889, a committee consisting of W.H. Kadel, S.M. Mingle, and
J.V. McCarty reported they had purchased the old West School
building at a cost of $205 (which was used as the City Hall until 1965)
and lot #1 In Block 7 for $500.00.
As the population and land grew, so did the desires of the people
of Rock Falls to incorporate their town into a city. This desire led
to an election on April 16, 1889 to decide. 83 votes were cast for
and 3 against the idea. We were now a city, a startling difference
from the small settlement of 1837. The first city election was held
on June 18 and Egbert Wilson was elected mayor. Our new city de-
cided to have an alderman-type of government. The 1890's brought
a changing people and a changing government. In October, 1899,
the names of the streets were changed, under the instruction of
those appointed by Mayor R.H. Woods.
1919 brought another change in the type of government. We de-
cided to try the commission form, which lasted until 1923, when
we returned to the alderman form.
Things were quiet for awhile until 1927, when a heated battle
broke out. Some of the citizens wished to annex the city of Rock
Falls to Sterling. Others were hotly against it. Those who wanted
to join Sterling used issues such as the absence of a hospital in Rock
Falls, as well as a library, telephone exchange, gas company, wa-
ter company and business organizations. They also felt we needed
better fire protection than we had. Sterling sided in with this group,
of course, and offered to build a new Soldiers Memorial Hall as a
civic center for both cities. They were even going to build it on our
side of the river. But, the opposing group was too large and too
strong in their desire to keep what they had built. They didn't want
to lose the electric plant, and fearof higher taxes even boosted their
anti-annexation drives. More than anything, they didn't want to lose
their identity as a city. They had grown from little of nothing to a
city, perhaps not as efficiently organized or equipped as Sterling,
but potentially as powerful as the north side of the river. "Why
should we sell out for a few conveniences when, in a few years, we
can establish those things for ourselves?" The battle was bitter and
long and used advertisements, press and letters to prove eachside's
point, but in the election on November 22, 1927, the vote was 512
for and 1180 against annexation. The inefficient city of Rock Falls
decided to struggle by on their own.
So on our own we grew from 2,927 population in 1920 to 3,893
in 1930 and still another 1,000 in the next decade. The town turned
toward improvements necessary to house its growing population.
Between 1940 and 1950, another 3,000 people moved to Rock Falls.
New homes sprang up south of Route 30. Subdivisions were laid out
and unsafe housing was improved ordestroyed to helphouse our new
citizens. In July of 1952, the city council voted to purchase property
on 8th avenue from the Business Men's Association in the amount
of $6,500, payable in 3 years. The property was used as the site
for the Armory. A new municipal center was built in 1963 and the
schoolhouse that had served us for 75 years as a city hall, was torn
down in 1965 at a cost of $1, 790, (the building had cost only $205) .
We still may not have everything that a city of our size needs,
but we're not through growing either. New stores and businesses
are coming in all the time, and the old ones are remodeling and im-
proving to keep up. The city of Rock Falls is 100 years young, and
still growing, still pioneering on modern highways that follow Indian
paths, and flying in planes over the rapids that brought our first
settlers to Rock Falls.
ROMANCE OF THE AREY HOUSE
The old Arey house that once stood in the middle of First Avenue
faced north and was back about 100 feet from the bank of the Rock
River. It was built by Edward Atkins in 1838 as the first hotel. The
building was of local oak, butternut, black walnut, cherry and bass-
wood, the only pine being on the inside doors and window sashes.
The pine was brought by team from Chicago. The crown moulding
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was made by hand. The rooms on the ground floor were large kit-
chen, dining room, bar room and ladles parlor. Both parlor and bar
were on the west side of the hall. Between these two rooms, the
partition had an opening about four feet square which held the long
wood stove. The stove pipe went up on the bar room side, heating
both rooms with one stove . The finishing lumber in the house was
black walnut and the floors were white oak.
Richard Arey, wife and five children, came from Wellfleet,
Mass. on Cape Cod, arriving in Rapids City, May 11, 1844. Their
trip took a month from Albany, N.Y. to Buffalo and around the lakes
to Chicago, and here by team and wagon. Atkins and his family
moved to a smaller house to allow the Arey family to live in the
hotel. Arey planted trees around the hotel, as well as an orchard in
the 160 acres to the south.
Pioneering had weakened the Arey family who were used to the
city life of the east. Eight years after theArey's moved here, .Mrs.
Arey passed away. Shehadgivenbirth to 3 children while living in this
house, and her absence made it unbearable for the rest of the mem-
bers to remain there. Nevertheless, Arey carried on and held the
first town meeting in the hotel, where he was elected both chairman
In 1858, the hotel was moved to where the Sand K Clothing Store
now sits. Arey remodeled the house and turned it into a 'duplex',
renting out the west side, and living in the east side until 1888 when
Thomas Gait bought it. He moved it to a site in back of the Metho-
dist Church, where it remained until 1928, when it was torn down.
The Arey house played a very Important part in the history of
our area. All the elections were held there until the school was built
on Dixon Road in 1855. The missionary workers gathered here, as
the house was used as a Bible repository and Sunday school. Arey
was known as the 'Deacon' until the time he died at the age of 88.
Ist Ave. Bridge
Bridge opened in 1863. The toll was 10( and the bridge tender's
name was Robert Fulton. A boat was built and used as a ferry for
awhile, operating about 200 feet east of this present bridge.
In the meantime, another ferry was attempted at Broadway,
using a complicated system of little boats stationed at 200 foot in-
tervals to support a thousand foot cable anchored in midstream and
attached to the ferry to be swung across the river by the current.
It was not a success and ran only one season.
In 1874, George Barr bought a steam tug at Lyons, Iowa and
transformed it into a ferry which became locally famous as the
White Swan. The Swan did a good passenger service until the first
bridge was constructed on First Avenue, First Avenue being known
as Bridge Street on old city maps. This bridge, built in 1878, was
a free bridge. It was a six-span bridge, each span 170 feet, with
the iron superstructure 20 feet above the bed of the river. It had a
road bed 18 feet wide and a 5 foot walk on each side. This bridge
served until 1923, when it was replaced by a brick sided bridge.
This bridge is still used, except the brick sides have been replaced
with new iron rails and new lights .
As the early settlers scanned the horizon and looked across the
Rock River, dread and anticipation must have been etched in each
mind as they wondered what was on the other shore. In the early
days of our community, transportation across the river presented
many problems. Until 1856, the only way to get across the river
was by fording, the best fording spot apparently being the foot of
8th Avenue in Sterling, to just this side of the Government Dam in
Rock Falls. In the winter they crossed on the ice.
In 1856, a bridge was built by subscription, crossed from the
foot of Avenue B in Sterling, to the tip of Lawrence Park, then
known as Picnic Island and then to the south bank of the river at
about 5th Avenue in Rock Falls. This bridge was short lived, as a
great ice gorge in 1857 swept it away.
A rope ferry was started from Avenue B in Sterling, below the
lower dam and was completed in 1853 and operated until the Toll
Ave. G Bridge Collopse
The Avenue G to 12th Avenue, in Rock Falls bridges, had their
disasters, too. The first one was barely completed and ready for
travel when it was swept away by a tremendous ice gorge in 1906.
By December of 1907, the second Avenue G bridge was completed.
Sterling and the county sharing equally the $41, 500 cost. The total
length was 1200 feet, built in two parts, covering channels on each
side of the island. The south side was a truss bridge, a 300-foot
span. The north part consisted of nine 100-foot spans and was a
plate-girder structure, roadway 24 feet wide, the floor 20 feet above
the normal surface of the water. The plate girders were 10 feet deep
(or high), the bridge floor constructed of wooden bricks laid on the
girder bed. Everyone thought the bridge looked firm enough to stand
for all time, but some forty years later, a span fell in the river and
the bridge was condemned. The present bridges were built in 1948
and were paid for by the state .
extends BEST WISHES
to our many friends
and neighbors in
on the occasion of your
MEMBER FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORAT10^
Congratulations & Best Wishes
to the City of Rock Falls
1939 - 1967
Wiss Betty Brown - Head Librarian
Mrs. Mary Marquis - Chairman
Mr. Milton Ward - Secrstary
Mr. Ml/ton Rubin - Treasurer
Mrs. Anne Atilano
Mr. James Baiter
Mrs. Helen Cousins
Mr. Clark Hoot
Mrs. Dorothy Walter
Mrs. Myrtle Welch
SOFT WATER SERVICE
SERVICE - SALES - RENTALS
AL JOHNSON -OWNER
204 2ND AVE., ROCK FALLS, ILL. 61011
''The Lot with the Roof on Top"
WILLIAM MUNZ -OWNER
1801 N. LOCUST STERLING, ILLINOIS
The C.B. & Q. railroad bridge, built in 1883, was a covered
bridge which burned spectacularly just five years later in 1888. On
the night of October 23, before midnight, almost the entire popula-
tion viewed the great conflagration leaping along the arches, till the
whole structure was a blazing mass, 1200 feet of flame, from shore
to shore. The piers remained intact and the following year, another
frame superstructure was erected but not covered. The bridge was
used thus, until the late 1920's when another fire engulfed the bridge
burning out the center section. The old frame superstructure was
then removed and the bridge rebuilt, using the same piers, and is
as we see it today.
The building of the canal in 1906 and 1907 necessitated the build-
ing of a lot of bridges in the area through which it ran. The only
original bridge within the confines of Coloma township is the one on
east second street in Rock Falls. This bridge was never as high as
the other bridges as it was not intended for large boats to go under
it, as once in the river, the water depth would not be sufficient for
them to navigate very far.
A big event in this area occurred on October 24, 1907, when the
new feeder canal was opened to traffic. A huge crowd estimated at
25, 000 people, gathered to watch a huge street parade in the morn-
ing and an aquatic parade for the opening of the canal in the after-
The Dixon Avenue Bridge, which was a landmark from the build-
ing of the canal, was replaced in 1965 with the City of Rock Falls,
Coloma Township, Whiteside County and the State of Illinois, all
sharing in the expense of the new bridge. The roadbed was widened,
straightened and lowered. With the much heavier traffic of today,
it is a much safer structure.
A completely new bridge has been built across the canal at East
11th Street, which leads to the Industrial Park. This bridge was
constructed in 1963 and will help lead Rock Falls into the future.
This bridge was built with funds shared jointly by the township and
The old high bridge on Route 88, which was of "S" design and
was the scene of many auto accidents due to its sharp curves, has
been replaced with a new wide structure. One too many trucks
struck the bridge in 1965 and it was damaged beyond repair. The
new bridge is built for today's modern high speed traffic, which is
getting heavier as it leads to the Whiteside County Airport.
Dixon Avenue Bridg.
THE ICE GORGE OF 1906
Ol' Rock River has always caused trouble, as It drains a large
part of Wisconsin and almost all of Northern Illinois. Frequent ice
gorges and times of high water are familiar to all who live in the
Rock River Valley.
One of the greatest ice gorges to occur on the river was in Feb-
ruary of 1906. It was caused by the ice jamming between Portland
and the Sterling-Rock Falls area. It reached its peak on February
23, when another smaller jam near Dixon broke, sending a fresh
rush of water down the river.
The river began rising rapidly shortly after midnight. Warnings
were sent to residents living on low ground and to all the manufac-
turers who had plants along the river. But the rushing waters, ris-
ing with a startling swiftness, could not beheld back and little could
be done, except to flee before its power. Many residents who lived
in Sterling, were forced to flee in their nightclothes . Rock Falls
residents were more fortunate, as it is located on higher ground.
Ice, which had been piling up in the river, and especially above
the Avenue G bridge, had now the pressure of a mighty rush of
water behind it and at 7:15 A.M. , the three south spans of the river
were washed away and very shortly thereafter, the north end of the
bridge was washed away. In the matter of a few short minutes, one
of the strongest bridges on the Rock River, which had taken months
to build, was destroyed by the immense power of the river.
Over 1000 men in the Rock Falls -Sterling area were thrown out
of work, due to the damage to the factories . The electric light and
gas plants, too, were temporarily disabled and the cities were
plunged into darkness for several nights. First Avenue Bridge was
condemned and a warning was posted telling people they crossed the
bridge at their own risk.
Huge windrows of ice cakes were piled high along the banks of
the river by the water. These took many weeks to thaw.
HENNEPIN CANAL FEEDER
A big event, which drew one of the largest crowds ever to gather
in Rock Falls, occurred in October 24, 1907, when the feeder canal
was opened to traffic. The project had been in the planning stage
for many years. In fact, the preliminary surveys were made as
early as 1871. In 1890, Congress made an appropriation of $500, 000
to begin work on the Hennepin Canal, which was to extend from Hen-
nepin to Milan, on the Mississippi. This section of the canal was
dedicated in 1895. There were times when the water level in the canal
was insufficient and it was decided to build a feeder from the Rock
V. H. Lawrence, Operator, Dixon Ave Road in 1934
and ionS/ inc.
ROUTE 30 WEST . . . ROCK FALLS
OFFICE: DIAL 625-6626
IF NO ANSWER ...DIAL 625-1182 or 625-5839
A. Lawrence, Operator in 1955
River to the canal in Bureau County. At first, the engineers decided
to tap the Rock River at Dixon, but interested parties in Rock Falls
and Sterling felt it should be from our locality. C.C. Johnson, mi-
nority leader of the legislature and C.L. Sheldon, made a trip to
Washington and discussed the matter with the Hon. Redfield Potter,
Secretary of War. He told them that if they could prove tapping the
river at Rock Falls was more economical than it would be at Dixon,
the government would listen.
After Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sheldon returned, they met with
prominent citizens of both Rock Falls and Sterling and they decided
to hire Frank E. Andrews, a lawyer and surveyor, to make a sur-
vey. His survey showed it would be 11 miles shorter and much less
expensive to build the canal from Rock Falls than from Dixon.
Government engineers were sent in to check the surveyors figures
and the point was proved.
In 1898, construction was begun on the feeder. A dam had to be
built across Rock River in order to raise the water and to insure
a proper flow into the canal through the feeder. The length of the
Government dam across the river is 1300 feet and it raised the
water 11 feet 6 inches above its common level. The overflow re-
sulted in backing water upas far as Dixon and inundated 1,436 acres
of land. Many small islands were inundated, but many still remain.
The new shoreline created many choice building locations and beau-
tiful homes line the river bank on both the south and north shores.
The length of the feeder is 29. 3 miles and the Hennepin Canal is
75 miles in length. The cost of the canal and feeder was between
$8,000,000 and$10,000,000and the cost of the dam was $100,000.
The opening day celebration drew a crowd estimated at 25,000
on a beautiful October day. A huge street parade, 2-1/2 miles in
length, took place in the morning and in the afternoon an aquatic
parade of boats and launches from Rock Falls, Sterling and Dixon
started on the river and entered the locks, going as far as the
Dixon Avenue Bridge and returning.
Among the speakers for the day were the Governor, Charles S.
Deneen, former governor Samuel R. Van Sant, Congressman Frank
O. Lowden and many others. Miss Grace Wheeler, now Mrs. Wm.
Clingan of Sterling, the daughter of Captain L.L. Wheeler, the
chief engineer for the project, had the privilege of opening the gates
for the first time.
The only lock on the feeder is the one at Rock River. For many
years, there was a large grain elevator at Mile Nine, where many
area farmers took their grain to be shipped. The tonnage of com-
mercial freight hauled on the canal consisted of grain, gravel, coal,
steel and iron.
Unfortunately, the usefulness of the canal was shortlived. With
the advent of better highways and large trucks, the canal fell into
disuse. At present, the United States Government is trying tore-
habilitate the property and it will eventually be turned over to the
State of Illinois for recreational purposes. The many miles of canal
bank could become one long park and wildlife refuge for the use of
the citizens of the state. We hope it will again become auseful part
of our community.
Captain Wheeler was the superintendent in charge of the canal
for many years . However, he always lived in Sterling and never in
the big cement block government house.
In 1914, Mr. Wheeler made it possible for J. A. Rhyne to trans-
fer from lock #2 at Bureau. He came to Rock Falls so he might
better educate his family. The family came by houseboat to Rock
Falls, making the trip of 29 miles in 5 days. Charles Randall then
lived in the Government House and a man by the name of Sturtevant
lived in the small lock house across the canal. The Rhyne's bought
a house at 804 East 2nd Street, which Mr. Rhyne's daughter still
occupies. Mr. Rhyne was a lock tender, who had helped build the
canal. While working at Bureau, they lived in a houseboat until a
new house was built for them. Shortly after moving into the new
house, a daughter, Alice, was born and was the first child born on
The Joseph Sumption family also lived in the small lock tender
house before moving to the big Government House. Mr. Sumption
was succeeded by Virgil Beckley and Calvin Elliot is now lock ten-
der and care taker. He has been here since 1952.
At least one large business had its beginning as a result of the
canal. In 1920, LeRoy Mechling and Fred Wolf of Rock Falls, began
a barge line. They built their own steam boat, using a steam engine
which they got from Paul Dillon, to push their barges. They bought
gravel from a government pit east of Sheffield for 10( a yard, then
hauled it to buyers all along the Hennepin Canal and feeder. They
also hauled coal and steel for the International Harvester Co.
Mr. Wolf sold his interest to Mr. Mechling about 1925. In 1930,
Mr. Mechling extended the barge operations to include grain haul-
ing from the various elevators along the canal, taking it to the grain
terminals in Pekln.
The company, now known as the A. L. Mechling Barge Line, has
expanded its operations, until today it has a large fleet of towboats
and barges operating on all major rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.
In 1961, they transported the first Saturn Migsile from Huntsville,
Alabama to Cape Canaveral. Since then, they have transported many
Headquarters for the barge line are in Joliet, Elinois. Mr.
Mechling is now retired and living in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
His three sons are associated with him in the business.
In 1908, the words and music of this song by L.L. Emmons was
published in the Sterling Evening Gazette. Mr. Emmons was born
in Coloma Township in 1856.
ROCK RIVER OF GOLD
O, beautiful river, Rock River of Gold
I love your sweet mem'ries, sweet mem'ries of old.
Your waters I've waded in childish delight,
I've searched the old bayous for pond lilies white. (Chorus)
My fancies revert to the old swimming hole.
To the spots where I sat with my old fishing pole,
Yes, those are the times that will never grow old.
Those days 'long Rock River, Rock River of Gold . (Chorus)
Oh, happy the hours when I played on your banks.
And made your isles echo in light childish pranks.
Ah, those are the mem'ries that never grow old.
Sweet dreams of Rock River, Rock River of Gold.
Unbidden fancies often go.
To the bayous where pond lilies blow.
My heart is with thee, oh beautiful Rock
O, glimmering, shimmering Rock!
Oh, beautiful river. Rock River of Gold,
I love your sweet mem'ries, sweet mem'ries of old.
ELECTRIC & HEATING
Ventilating and Air-Conditioning
100 First Ave., Rock Falls, Illinois 61071
Comp 1 i men t s Of
Ken & Ray's
Auto B(Nly Shop
AUTO PAINTING & REPAIRING
PROMPT EXPERT SERVICE
Owners - Kent McGonigle & Ray Kulas
317 W. 2ND STREET ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
• CotKTsniznt ljx££. \Pa1ku2a
When your money matters . . . think FIRST
HRST NATIONAL BANK OF STERLING
CORNER OF 4TH AVE. AND 4TH ST.
ROCK FALLS IN THE WARS
At the time of the Civil War, Rock Falls, of course, had not yet
been founded. Rapid City had ceased to exist as a town, but the
township was pretty well settled. We have no definite information
on how many men were in the Civil War from Coloma Township.
We do know that there were four young men from the Arey house
who enlisted. Corp. Richard Arey and James Arey - the names of
the other two not known. Robei-t L. Atkins, who was born in the old
house in 1846, was also in the Civil War. After the founding of Rock
Falls in 1867, many Civil War Veterans came here to make their
In 1898, the Will EndertonPost of the Grand Army of the Repub-
lic, met in Woodworths Grove on Memorial Day. At the grove, the
exercises opened with a song "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground,"
sung by a male quartet with Miss Elsie Leitch as accompanist.
Chaplain James Arey invoked the divine blessing after which the
Commander J.E. Durstine and Adjutant E.C. Winters, read the
orders and Mrs. E.M. Ebersole sang a solo.
Miss Ethel Durstine read Lincoln's Gettysburg address and Miss
Jean Atkins gave a recitation.
The following members of Will Enderton Post who were there
that day were: F.D. Rosebrook, W.N. Pearl, George Canning, J.D.
David, G.O. Bassett, James Sullivan, Wm. Barker, J.K. Williams,
A.J. Bindsley, J.F. Brumley, Darius Underwood, Wm. Frank.
E.C. Winters, CO. LaShelle, D.S. Underhill, J.O. Wagley, John
Kadel, R.L. Atkins, J.C. Arey, J.V. McCarty, J. A. Morrison,
Geo. Lowrey, H.L. Shifter, E.C. Palmer, Adam Brown, D.J.
Melburg, Ira Compton, CO. Deyoe, W.A. Hall, M. Gassenschmidt,
J.E. and W.G. Durstine, W.G. Patton, H.N. Hetherington and
Freeman Clemmons. Truman Culver, who was a First Lieutenant
and Henry Price, were also Civil War Veterans. Others who be-
longed to this post were: H.L. Brewer, S.H. Stoner and J.O. Wag-
ley. John Mosier, Charles Allen and Nelson Smith belonged to the
Will Robinson Post in Sterling. These last six named, along with
Geo. Canning and H.L. Shifter, were among the last survivors of
the Civil War.
This list of names, of course, gives only the survivors of this
grim war. We know the youngest of the Arey family was killed in
battle and, of course, many others. There are 57 Civil War Veter-
ans buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery. Of this number, all were
Union men but one. One lone Confederate soldier lies in this north-
The Sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry in which most of the volun-
teers from Rock Falls served, was mustered into the United States
Army on May 11, 1898. Companies E and I arrived in Santiago,
Cuba onjuly 11, justafter the bombardment of that city hadstopped.
The troops were on the Cruiser Columbia, but were not permitted
to leave the ship and go ashore. On July 21, they left Santiago and
on the following morning, landed at Guanica, Porto Rico.
It proved to be a peaceful occupation of the island, as the Span-
ish troops did not go on the offensive. The regiment had one minor
skirmish with the enemy. Orders were given to proceed to Ponce
and on July 30, they broke camp. It was a discouraging march. The
roads were nearly impassable from the rains, the beef was not fit
to eat, the ground was literally crawling with centipedes, half ripe
bananas fried in grease was their only luxury and their outfits so
heavy that even ammunition and bayonets were discarded. They
spent 8 days of primitive existence in Ponce.
Soon many of the boys were barefoot, some had no trousers, all
had beards and all were half starved. The regular rations were
hardtack and sowbelly. However, orders came to march homeward
and morale was restored.
On September 7th, they sailed on the Manitoba, an English trans-
port and disembarked in New York on September 14. That same
evening, they boarded the train for Springfield and on September 16,
were in Camp Lincoln. On September 22, all companies were per-
mitted to go home for a 60 day furlough, to return to Springfield
and be mustered out on November 25, 1898.
Some of the men listed in the original roster of the "Old Sixth"
as being from Rock Falls were: Arthur Deem, Gus Hanson, DeVille
B. Deyoe, Charles and Harry Eberle, Charles Johnson, Bert Pal-
mer, Herman Rodemyer, Frank Rossiter, Sgt. F.E. Wagley, H.
N. Geyer, Sam Feigley and Frank Blair. M.L. Alpress from Mont-
morency also served. Some of these men's addresses were not
listed as being Rock Falls and there may be others where this is
the case. Arthur Deem was the last Spanish American War Veteran
to pass away and died in 1964. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery.
There are 17 veterans of this war buried in the Odd Fellows Ceme-
THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Whiteside County sent approximately 3000 men to World War I
and of that number, probably 400 to 500 were men from Rock Falls.
They served in many regiments and divisions in all parts of Europe,
and in all branches of the service. The 33rd division, made up of
Illinois National Guard, was the most representative military or-
ganization from the state; the 86th division that trained at Camp
Grant inRockford, being broken up to make replacements for nearly
every division in the army in France. 342 men from Whiteside
County left Sterling on June 24 of 1918.
The 33rd served with both the English and French armies as
well as with General John Pershings American Army.
After the Armistice was signed on November 11 of 1918, our
men were kept overseas for occupation duty and it was not until
June of 1919 that most of them were discharged and returned to
Burt E. Brown Post No. 326, Veterans of Foreign Wars was
named for the first boy from Rock Falls to die overseas in World
War I. Eighty five World War I veterans are buried in the Odd Fel-
lows Cemetery as of Memorial Day, 1967.
WORLD WAR II
World War I did not do what the boys of World War I fought for,
and in the 1930's, the world was at war again in Europe. The United
States had tried to remain neutral, but when Pearl Harbor was
bombed on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese, we were again
plunged into a world-wide conflagration. The boys from Rock Falls
responded, as they always have. They enlisted or were drafted from
many places in the nation where they were working or attending
school. So an accurate count of numbers of men is a virtual impos-
sibility. Pictures of 348 men appeared in the newspaper, but we
know there were many more than that, that answered the call to the
The men and women from "our town, "Rock Falls, served in all
branches of the service and all over the world. Because of the large
number, naming names is an impossibility.
There are 31 World War U veterans buried in I.O.O.F. Ceme-
tery as of Memorial Day, 1967. Undoubtedly, many more are buried
in military cemeteries elsewhere.
Since World War H, our men have also served in Korea and at
present are giving service in the Viet Nam conflict. There are 3
Korean War veterans in our cemetery. One has already been buried
from Viet Nam and we know not how many more.
Our men and women have always done their duty in any conflict
in which our beloved country has been involved, and in years to
come, will continue to do so. We pray someday, the giving of lives
and service on the battlefield will become an outmoded way of set-
tling the troubles of our world.
''Complete Car Care''
WE GIVE S & H STAMPS
PROPS. - John Walker and Joe Bright
320 1st. AVENUE ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
AGENT, BRADA MILLER
Freight Systems Inc.
922 EAST ROUTE 30
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
Congratulations to Rock Falls
on your 100th Birthday
A PART OF THE COMMUNITY FOR 62 YEARS
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
SERVICEMEN'S HONOR ROLL
During World War U, Rock Falls honored the boys who entered
the service by erecting an Honor Roll on the side of the Wheelock
Building on First Avenue. A huge white board was erected and as
the boys were enlisted into the service their name was added to the
others which had gone before them. And as each of the boys were
reported "Killed in Action" a Gold Star was placed beside his name.
In 1947, the Honor Roll was decommissioned with a service
which was led by Sam Rubin, and which the High School band parti-
cipated under the direction of Elmer Ziegler. Echo taps were
played by Donny Little and Neil Tousley.
The history of our area would not be complete without the men-
tion of two townships - Montmorency and Hume, which have contri-
buted much to the well-being of Rock Falls, because most of the
residents in this area call Rock Falls their. post office and educate
their children in our high school district.
Montmorency was attached to Coloma Township, for judicial
purposes, from the time the townships were organized in 1852,
until it completed its own organization in 1859.
Some of the early township officers whose names are still
familiar family names are: Supervisors Joseph Colder, George
Sawyer, Tyler McWhorter, C.C. Buell. Other names which still
are familiar are: Colder, Woods, Church, Scott, Frank, Banes,
Lawrence and Sturtz.
Montmorency voted to subscribe $50,000 to the building of the
Chicago, Rock River Railroad, which went through the northeast
portion of the township. After a long legal battle, the courts ruled
the election illegal, as only 43 votes were cast, which was not a
majority of the legal voters of the township. Therefore, no money
was ever paid on the railroad.
The first school, opposite Alonzo Golder's residence, was built
in 1856. It was blown to fragments in the tornado of June 3, 1860.
This storm did a lot of damage in the township.
The school was rebuilt and named Colder School, later being
called Excelsior. There were six other schools in the township.
Alpress, Banes, Elmendorf, McWhorter, Sturtz, and Swan Lake.
The first five were named for pioneers of the area. Swan Lake, the
last to be organized was the first school to close. These schools
have been consolidated and all students now attend Montmorency
Colder Road was the first graveled road in the township and in
the 1920's, became the first paved road south from Rock Falls, be-
coming Route 88. Buell Road, McNeil Road and Thome Road are all
named for early settlers .
Asa Scott came to the township in 1847, Robert McNeil in 1849,
Tyler McWhorter in 1854, Alonzo Colder in 1856-. C.C. Buell set-
tled here after serving in the Civil War. The Yeoward addition, east
of Rock Falls, is named for the Yeoward family, many who still
reside in this area. Jacob Lauff, aged 84, is the oldest man in the
township. Henry Deitz has the longest residence, having been born
in the township 81 years ago.
The most famous man of today, who resides in the Montmorency
area, is Woodrow Wilson King, known to most people as "Sid".
Wilson is the son of a former mayor of Rock Falls, David King. He
has engaged in farming since the 1930 's and now owns and operates
Kinglore Farms, Inc. He breeds registered Angus cattle. "Sid"
married the former Lorraine Oilman and they have three sons.
He served as a member of the Livestock and Nutrition Seminar
at the Milan International Trade Fair at Milan, Italy in 1965, under
the Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of
Agricultural. At present, he is serving on the President's National
Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty. This group has no connec-
tion with the Federal Government, but has been commissioned to
make a detailed study of how the migration of rural people to big
cities can be slowed or reversed. The problems of these migratory
people in the big cities are compounded by their lack of education
and/or job training. The Commission has been holding hearings
over the United States and with their staff of 10 men, on leave from
various universities, will study the testimony and prepare a recom-
mendation for the President by September of this year. Mr. King
served as chairman of the public hearings that were held in Wash-
inton, D.C., this past February. He is the only farmer on the
Commission. Governor Breathitt of Kentucky, is the chairman of
Grennan is another name which has long been famous south of
Rock Falls. Michael Grennan was an early Montmorency farmer
and his grandaughter. Miss Jaqueline (formerly Jean) Grennan,
daughter of the Edward W. Grennans, has become a well-known
personage in our day. Jean joined the Sisters of Loretto in 1948
where she obtained her educational degree. After years of service,
she became President of Webster College, Webster Grove, Mis-
souri, one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges for women,
in 1960. This year, Miss Grennan was released from her canonical
vows as a nun, but continues as President of Webster College.
She has served on the President's Advisory Panel on Research
and Development in Education, under both President Kennedy and
President Johnson. She helped organize the poverty programs
"Operation Headstart", a program to bring education of underpriv-
ileged children up to the level of others their age, so when they
start to school, they will have the same measure of intelligence as
Miss Grennan is a frequent visitor at her parents farm, which
is located in the Swan Lake area of the township.
Although Hume Township is not geographically adjacent to Colo-
ma, as is Montmorency, it is still a close neighbor and calls Rock
Falls its post office and is in the Rock Falls High School District.
Hume was organized in 1857, having been attached to Hopkins
and Prophetstown Townships for judicial purposes prior to that
time. The first settler in the township was Leonard Morse, who
came from Lee County in 1836. The next settler was Uriah Wood
who came in 1839.
Previous to 1840, DavidRamsey and Charles Wright settled here.
A post office was established at South Hume in 1874, but was
discontinued after two years.
The six township schools have been consolidated so the pupils
now attend either Crestview School or Riverdale in Coloma Township.
The first traveled road in the township was an old stage coach
route from Chicago to Rock Island. This is now a blacktopped road
and commonly known as Prophetstown Road. It is heavily traveled,
with many homes other than farm homes located along its length.
Familiar names from this area as listed in an 1877 atlas are:
Fluck, Gaulrapp, Cleaveland, Cunniff, Doyle, Vock, Conboy, Stur--
tevant, McKenzie, Sears and Wilkinson.
Carpets - Linoleum - Ceramic
STAN GEORGE - Owner
707- 1st AVENUE ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
BEST WISHES to ROCK FALLS
HEAVY DUTY WRECKER SERVICE
Night Phone: 626-3875
Route 30 & 4th Ave., Rock Falls, Illinois
42 Years of the 100 Year Celebration
Congratulations on the Centennial
and for years to come
Moulton Drug Store
R. F. MOULTON R. PH.
A Walgreen Agency Store
117 West Second Street ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
ROCK FALLS AN INDUSTRLAL CITY
A. P. Smith came west to Illinois in 1856 and settled in the com-
munity of Sterling. Mr. Smith was an intelligent and foresighted
man, though not a wealthy one. As he looked across the Rock River,
he visioned an Industrial City beyond the dreams of anyone in the
community. His vision was to build an industrial town.
Water rights had been purchased from Edward Atkins, one of
the original settlers of Rapids City by the Sterling Hydraulic Co.,
who in turn built a dam across the river. In 1867, Mr. Smith pur-
chased a half interest in the power plant and 45 acres of land. This
was the beginning of making his dream come true. His plans called
for a mill race to be built. However, in order to do this, he needed
more land. Most of the land next to the river belonged to a Boston
millionaire, AbnerMerrill (perhaps related to Isaac and Noah). Mr.
Smith approached Mr. Merrill with his plan, and Mr. Merrill told
him if he built the race and got at least three factories of not less
than $10, 000 capital each, he would deed him the 20 acres along the
The mitten (octory built in 1869, now the 1.0.0. F Hall
Mr. Smith, having a great deal of experience in the manufactur-
ing of mittens, built a mitten factory in 1869. Water power was not
needed for this, so he built it on what is now East Third Street. It
was a large three story building and was built at a cost of $4,000.
In 1875, the business was operated by Phelps Brothers and in 1877
by Hubbard, Ward and Clark. Mr. H.P. Price was the cutter during
these various changes of ownership. The business was in operation
about eight months of the year, with as many as 80 employees,
mostly women, during the busy season. They made mittens and
gloves of sheepskin, tanned with or without the wool, calf skins and
other varieties. The building was used for school purposes at times
and was eventually sold to the I.O.O. F. for their Odd Fellows Hall
and is still in use today.
Mr. Smith got busy and induced Gait and Tracy, whose factory
had recently been destroyed by fire in Sterling, to move to the south
side of the river.
Mr. Smith got a party by the name of Parks, to build a paper
mill and he and a partner built a grist mill. He now had three fac-
tories. The mill race was built at a cost of $20, 000 with an entrance
for water just above the dam. He contacted Mr. Merrill, who kept
his promise and deeded him 20 to 25 acres. The old plat book of 1877
shows Mr. Merrill owning 150 acres south of the original town and
the majority of the deeds for property in the town of Rock Falls show
either Merrill Addition or "Merrill and Hapgood" Additions on their
Mr. Smith now hired John Arey, Deacon Arey's son, to lay out
the town. The original town covered the area from the railroad
tracks, west to about 5th Avenue and from the river south to about
West 5th Street, and to the Dixon Road on the east end.
By 1871, the Gait and Tracy factory became the Keystone Mfg.
Co. and by 1877 had grown to such an extent that it required ten
buildings. They manufactured corn planters, sulky rakes, cider
mills, corn shellers, stalk cutters and seed sowers in their early
days. After the death of Mr. Tracy, several changes occurred and
the company was purchased by the International Harvester Company
before 1908. They continued the manufacturing of farm equipment
for many years. Several fires damaged their plant, but they always
River Street, now West 1st St, showing port of old Keystone Buildings
rebuilt. A particularly disastrous one occurred in 1947. Gradually,
in the 1950's, as the buildings became older and more obsolete,
operations were cut from three shifts down to one and finally in
1961, operations were suspended entirely. Employees with suffi-
cient tenure could either go to the works in Moline, Canton or Chi-
cago, and those near retirement age could retire with pension. It
was quite a blow to the economy of Rock Falls when this big industry
decided to move out. Various parts of the old Keystone Works are
now occupied by several different businesses.
The Eureka Manufacturing Co. was organized in 1871 with a
capitolstock of$50,000. ThomasA. Gait was president;M.A. Bunn,
vice president; J. G. Crawford, secretary; and Alexander McCloy,
By 1887, it was incorporated and some of the first products were
school desks, teacher's desks, chairs and portable blackboards. It
also manufactured cane bottom chairs; office, hotel and church fur-
niture; a road grader; stalk cutter; check rower and the Becker
brush grain cleaner. Later, they built mail-delivery carts for the
government. By 1908, the Eureka was listed as the largest of the
five carriage builders in the two cities . Carriages were shipped as
far as Argentina, Mexico and Cuba. They made fringed surreys,
buggies, breaking carts, road carts, buckboards and spring wagons
JUailll .^ lIlMr
WHIl I>oi»l>i»- Crtiu' s..«t & tt««4
20 DIFFERENT STYLES I
The Ma Manufactiiriiig Compaiiy.
MOCK FtiLLS, ILLS.
WV >l», malt, Ik-
■vjpeka Melioet Heal wmk B«ak»
We're M 100 Years Old, But . . .
WE OFFER COMPLETE BANKING FACILITIES
Home Purchasing Loans
Home Improvement Loans
Savings & Checking Accounts
AND ALL BANKING CONVENIENCES
Envelope Deposit Service
2 Convenient Drive-in Windows
For Auto Banking
n I TIME FORVOU I ■
"The bank with the revolving time
at various times in their history. With the advent of the motor dri-
ven vehicle in 1910, the company turned to the building of hearses
and ambulances, mounted on passenger car chassis.
During Wcjrld War I, government contracts were filled to supply
horse drawn carts to be used in combat. During World War n, they
supplied the government with buses, ambulances and turret blankets.
In 1891, Hunter H. Wood joined the firm as a bookkeeper and
eventually he acquired controlling interest in the firm. Upon his
death in 1953, the Eureka Co., was sold to Wilbur Myers, who had
joined the firm as a body builder in 1921. In 1926, Mr. Myers ob-
tained a patent for his table-design, sideloading hearse. Later the
three-way loading design was used and the Eureka was granted ex-
clusive rights to build this design for ten years. Mr. Myers' son,
Leland, was vice-president of the company. During 1965, after 94
years of business in the same location, the owners decided to dis-
continue operation. At present, part of the building is occupied by
Hampton Construction Co. as offices and warehouse.
Paper Mill as it looked on the River Bonk
Feeling the need of a building in which small manufacturers
could begin without an investment in a building, Mr. Smith organ-
ized a company to build the Industrial Building in 1872. It was built
along the river just east of the Parks Paper Mill. It was a substan-
tial brick and stone building of two stories. It was separated by
fireproof walls into 6 divisions, each occupied by a different indus-
try. This building has had a long and varied history and is still
standing, being the building recently occupied by the Flexonics Co.
In thel870's, it was occupied at various times by the Rock Falls
Mfg. Co., The Whiteside Time, The Utility Works, Keystone Bur-
ial Case Co., John Wood and Co., E.G. Palmer, Industrial Mfg.
Co., Rock Falls Progress and others.
The Utility Works was owned by A. P. Smith, but was soon sold
out to J. A. Patterson. They manufactured a large variety of items,
such as portable tables, ironing boards, cutting boards, A. Fas sets
washing machine and Sterling corn planters .
The Rock Falls Manufacturing Co. began business in Room#l of
the building. It was a successor to the Keystone Burial Case Co.
and manufactured coffins and burial cases.
John Wood and Co. were successors to the Union Manufacturing
Co. and made the celebrated Rock Falls Wagon.
In 1893, the Industrial Building was sold to the Lawrence Bro-
thers. This company was organized in 1876, with the invention and
manufacturing of barb wire. The business was begun in Sterling but
with the need for more space, the move to Rock Falls was made.
In 1878, the company invented a steel door hanger and steel track
for hanging barn and garage doors. They then began manufacturing
door hinges and other builder's hardware. They continued opera-
tions in Rock Falls until 1913, at which time they built anew factory
and returned to Sterling. But Lawrence Brothers is now back on the
south side of the river with a new warehouse and shipping facility
being built on Route 30 east of town.
Since the Lawrence Brothers left the Industrial Building in 1913,
it has been occupied by various businesses. It was occupied by the
Fort Dearborn Co . This company was incorporated in 1895 and man-
ufactured dies and tools and special machinery. Neil Saunders was
The Flexonics Corporation then purchased the building. They
manufactured flexible hose. They were in operation here until the
Phelps and Dyer also occupied the Industrial Building at one
time. They manufactured three styles of corn planters, the Cham-
pion Harrow and the Uphams reversible smoothing harrow.
The Enterprise Works was established by H.F. Batcheller and
Son. Mr. Batcheller had invented and received a patent on a hand
com planter in 1859 and began manufacturing them on his farm by
hand. His business grew to such degree, that in 1873 he built a
building on River Street to house his plant. The plant also made
butter churns, cheese boxes, step ladders, harrows, windmills and
did planning and sawing of all kinds . The factory occupied 3 lots
and operated for quite a number of years before being destroyed by
The Globe Mills, operated by Jacob Zollinger, along with other
partners in its years of operation, was located on the race along
River Street. It opened in 1872 and specialized in corn meal. It
shipped as many as 30 tons of flour, meal and feed weekly.
The first paper mill was built by E.G.W. Parks in 1869. It oc-
cupied the site that the old Sanger and Nichols Store had stood on in
the days of Rapids City. Mr. Parks took in a partner in the early
1870's and it became known as the Parks and Johnson Paper Mill.
Mr. Johnson eventually became sole proprietor and later sold the
lot and building to Keystone Co., moving the paper making mach-
inery to Lyndon.
In 1882, E.L. Church, Henry Utley and J. A. Patterson built
another paper mill. These gentlemen had built and operated a mill
inSterling and then sold it to Dwight Brothers and took the proceeds
and came to Rock Falls and built a new plant. On January 27, 1891,
the bleach exploded, wrecking the mill and killing four men. The
men killed were: John Meyer, Oliver Miller, Samuel Schrader and
William Bell. There was some thought that the explosion of the
bleach was a result of sabotage, but it was never proved.
Paper Mill after exp
W.W. Davis' history of Whiteside County in 1908 lists the paper
mill as being the Illinois Straw Products Company and an even later
name is given as the Illinois Strawboard and Paper Corporation. It
was located along the race at the foot of Fourth Avenue, with ware-
houses along West Second Street. In the early 1900's, it employed
as many as 75 men and they were using 11-1/2 tons of straw daily
in making manila, rag and straw wrapping paper. Besides straw,
21 tons of paper stock was used daily and the mill operated day and
night. Schultz Brothers were the operators at one time. The com-
pany went out of existence in 1928, apparently bankrupt.
The Northwestern Barb Wire Company was organized by Wash-
inton Dillon, father of Paul Dillon, in 1879. It hadcapitol of $10,000
and it was located adjacent to the old mill race. Barb wire was new
at that time and was much in demand in the open plains states .
By 1892, the Dillon-Griswold partnership was formed for the
purpose of manufacturing bale ties in Sterling, while Dillon manu-
factured nails in Rock Falls along with the barbed wire.
Following Mr. Griswold's death in 1902, a series of business
transactions took place. By 1912, Washington Dillon owned the com-
pany and moved the Rock Falls plant to Sterling. At this time, his
son, Paul W. Dillon assumed the responsibility.
The Evan Reed Manufacturing Co. occupied the old stone mill of
old Dillon Milling Works in 1908. They made rat and mouse traps,
racks, cracker box covers and automatic pulleys.
Happy Birthday Rock Falls
16 AUTOMATIC AIR CONDITIONED LANES
COMPLETE PRO SHOP
PHIL BONARDI - Owner
ROUTE #30 ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
Electric Co., Inc.
EXPERT QUALITY SERVICE!
Expert Brake Adjustment
Brake Safer and
THE GOOD YEAR STORE OF STERLING
Brake & Front-End Value
220 East Third, Ste.
Bob Long - Mgr
Here' what we do. ..Remove front 66 rear wheels, adjust
brakes, clean and repack front wheel bearings, inspect
grease seals, add brake fluid if needed (no extra charge),
test brakes... all at this low, low price.
Better wear, better safety
Adjust brakes, add brake fluid and test Repack front
wheel bearings. Align front-end, correct camber, caster
and toe-in. Balance both front wheels. Rotate all four
wheels. Service-up now.. .easy terms.
Throughout the years, the company has experienced a large
growth, until at this time, it stretches along the north bank of the
Rock River for over a mile. There are over 3,000 employees and
many of those are residents of Rock Falls. Through the years, the
Northwestern Steel and Wire Company has played a very important
part in the economy, not only of Sterling but also of Rock Falls.
In the late 1890's, Mr. Anthony Corcoran, then of Morrison, in-
vented a machine to make butter tubs. He then came to Rock Falls
and had a factory along the river bank behind the Industrial Building.
His family received royalties on this invention for many years.
From 1921 until 1933, C.W. Mott had a factory behind his re-
sidence at 303 Dixon Avenue. He began by manufacturing butter
churns. Then he designed a line of toys for Rich Bros, of Sterling
and began manufacturing the wooden wheels for these toys . This
later branched out into all types of wood turning.
In 1926, Edwin Berge, professor of music in Rock Falls and
Sterling schools, felt he could teach large classes of students on
string instruments if he had some kind of cheap instrument on which
to teach them bowing and fingering. He contacted Mr. Mott and he
designed an inexpensive instrument which had a good tone and the
exact bridge, string, fingerboard and peg dimensions as a violin.
It was called a "Fiddlette" and eventually a whole group of instru-
ments -the violaette, celloette and bassette - were developed. Pro-
duction continued good until the depression in 1929, when the Fid-
dlette customers were the first to lose their jobs.
The wood turning business continued prosperously and was en-
larged into novelty furniture, samples of which may still be seen in
local homes. All through the depression business was good and
while the large manufacturing plants were working as little as two
days a week, the Mott plant was working 24 hours a day and reached
a peak of 68 employees. With the advent of the N.R.A. in 1933, the
plant was closed. Mr. Mott now lives in Missouri.
RUSSELL, BURDSALL & WARD BOLT AND NUT CO.
Bolts and nuts made in a primitive shop in Connecticut back in
1845, held together some of the first prairie schooners that pushed
westward through this area. By 1907, the same company that made
those fasteners, was putting down roots in Rock Falls, and the Rock
Falls plant has proved to be one of the most versatile of RB&W's
facilities. Its output during the early years, went mostly to the
equipment demands of a burgeoning agricultural industry. By the
time Henry Ford unhorsed the buggy, RB&W's Rock Falls facility
was already in an ideal location to serve the growing automobile
industry. Millions of parts yearly, go into the more than 8 million
copies of the family car, the tractors and even the more modern
gadgets, like the gasoline-powered snow blower.
RB&Wis one of the world's oldest and largest fastener manufac-
turers. It started in a rented room of a button works in Pember-
wick, Connecticut, owned by the brother-in-law of one of the found-
ers, EUwood Burdsall. Here, William E. Ward andBurdsall started
manufacturing wood screws and the business prospered for awhile,
until a superior product was introduced by another firm. This ended
the manufacture of wood screws for the two partners and they had
to find another product to keep the business going. Their answer
came from a New York stove manufacturer, who suggested that
iron bolts, if fitted with nuts, could be used to put his product to-
gether. Ward, the mechanical genius of the partnership, immedi-
ately began designing and building machines to make the new fasten-
ers. Soon, the little plant was putting on the market, the first stove
bolts and nuts ever made. Business was good andBurdsall was able
to give up his $600-per-year bookkeeping job which had provided the
capital which had kept the business going. In 1851, the brother-in-
law who owned the button works, Isaac Russell, joined the firm,
and it then became Russell, Burdsall & Ward.
Determined to improve on the old and cumbersome process of
hot forging bolts by hammer and anvil. Ward had, by 1850, design-
ed, built, and patented the world's first automatic cold heading
machine, a device that rocketed the young firm to a position of
leadership. From that time on, nearly all of the early bolt and nut
making devices were the products of Ward's fertile and ingenious
mind. Even some of today's elaborate cold heading machines still
contain some of the basic principles of Ward's inventions. The com-
pany also designed machines as amazing as their bolt-making broth-
ers for the production of nuts. The milestones of progress in the
days of the fastener industry were nearly always Ward-invented
machines. Following the first cold-header. Ward built a machine
for making carriage bolts with a square section under the head that
prevented the bolt from turning when the nut was applied. His in-
ventiveness was not confined to the fastener industry, however, for
he is also credited with the steam-driven plow, the lawn mower and
The Port Chester Bolt and Nut Company was organized in 1882,
and, by 1901, the Pemberwick and Port Chester plants had consol-
idated under the name of Russell, Burdsall &Ward Bolt and Nut Co.
All of the original partners had previously passed away, but William
E. Ward, son of William L. Ward, was elected president of the new
company, and Richard and EUwood Burdsall, Jr., were treasurer
and secretary, respectively. Today, the fourth generation - William
E. Ward, President and Robert Burdsall, Vice President and Sec-
retary - carry on the family business and traditions. The Russells
were never active in the company and their interest was purchased
The Rock Falls plant was acquired in 1907 as a base to serve
the rapidly growing agricultural industry. The original building was
purchased from Cobb & Drew and was located on property leased
from the CB&Q Railroad Company. The Cobb & Drew Company,
also fastener manufacturers, had originally been located in the old
Keystone Building, but later moved their operations to the site which
was subsequently purchased from them by RB&W. In 1909, RB&W
purchased the ground on which the buildings were located from the
CB&Q (the property between Avenue A and the CB&Q main track to
Sterling), and, in 1910, started expanding operations - which it has
done 12 times since, reaffirming the wisdom and foresight of the
company in choosing this site as its first venture in branch plant
To continue with company history, the third branch plant was
built at Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Completed in 1928, it is devoted
exclusively to the manufacture of nuts. In 1946, the Los Angeles
plant was acquired and the principle product of this plant at first
was "Cap Screws", but it has since broadened its line of fasteners.
In the 1950 's, the decision was made to diversify, and a tube
plant was purchased in Livonia, Michigan. Here, seamless metal
tubing is fabricated for automotive components, such as exhaust
systems. RB&W began experimenting with sintered or powdered,
metal fabricating in the late 1950's, set up aseparate divisionwith-
in its Port Chester plant for the development and marketing of pow-
dered metal products, and, through the purchase of a powdered
metal plant in Coldwater, Michigan, in 1965, obtained a home for
this division. A plastics plant in Hialeah, Florida, was purchased
in 1962, and the growth of the plastics industry has necessitated the
expansion of this subsidiary. Completion of a new plant is expected
Returning to the Rock Falls plant and its history, upon purchase
Cobb & Drew, RB&W named A.N. Bradford as the manager, and he
continued in this capacity until his death in 1933. The factory had a
total area of 43,600 square feet, and consisted of two buildings
when Mr. Bradford assumed managership. The first major expan-
sion took place in 1910, after purchase of the property from the
CB&Q, and added 94,000 square feet. It was not long until it was
apparent that more property would eventually be needed and the
tract of land east of the CB&Q main line was obtained from the
Sterling Hydraulic Company and other property owners. The land
was acquired in 1913, but it was not until 1923, that another major
expansion took place which added more than 96, 000 square feet. By
1927, 20 years after the original purchase, theRock Falls plant had
more than 256,000 square feet of manufacturing space, or almost
six times the original area. Further e.xpansions through the latest
in 1965, have increased this to 515,000 square feet, or almost 12
acres under roof.
After the death of Mr. Bradford in 1933, Foster Fike was named
plant manager, and served until his retirement in 1954. Serving
under both plant managers as plant superintendent, was Bill Hill,
Sr., who had been with Cobb & Drew at the time ownership was
transferred to RB&W, and who retired in 1954, also. William Hoof-
stitler was the next manager, but only briefly, since he retired in
1955. He was succeeded by Lambert M. Kaspers, who was trans-
ferred to the Port Chester plant in 1959, at which time the current
plant manager, George Nieman was named.
SAUK VALLEY COLLEGE
"Oliver" finest in
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, The Friendly Sfore
Paints - Hardware - Furniture
Large & Small
CLARENCE & LYLE BRESSLER
211 1st Ave.
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
Welcome to Rock Falls 100th Birthday Celebration
Disco Food Center
ROCK FALLS MOST COMPLETE FOOD CENTER
On Premises Bakery
Norge Coin Operated Dry Cleaning
Free Spacious 200 Car Parking Lot
1100 1ST AVENUE
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
other names associated with the first years of RB&W in Rock
Falls and their length of service with the company are: John Broth-
eridge, 1907-55;Arthur Deem, 1907-49; W.H. Hess, 1907-47; Au-
gust Hoover, 1907-49; William O'Hare, 1907-48; Claude Stoner,
1907-49; C.C. Kadel, 1909-49; Steve Runly, 1909-47; Paul Gronis,
1910-52; Frank Barrus, 1911-47; John Schmitt, 1911-54; David
Sheely, 1911-54; George Van Home, 1911-48; Carl Lundquist,
1912-49; Frank Ruth, 1912-53; Harry Von Bergen, 1912-55; Ray O.
Oilman, 1914-62; Clare Huber, 1914-57; Ernest Topping, 1915-45;
Albert Breiding, 1916-63; Dallas Drynan, 1916-54; Harry Figeley,
1916-54; Leslie Lansford, 1916-1964; George Brown, 1918-49;
George Davis, Sr., 1918-54; Clarence Hinds, 1918-63;Ralph Hoek,
1918-53; A.H. Hussung, 1918-1959; William Lutyeus, 1918-(still
actively employed); Joseph Glynn, 1919-65; Percy Howard, 1919-58;
Harm Lutyens, 1919-64; Dilwyn Batcheller, 1920-66; Bill George,
1920-55; Frank Gray, 1920-58; Joseph Huntley, 1920-(still actively
employed); Warren Imler, 1920-52; Arthur Shoemaker, 1920-53.
THE PARRISH-ALFORD FENCE & MACHINE CO., INC.
The Parrish-Alford Fence and Machine Co., Inc., came to
Rock Falls in the mid-30's. It was founded in Knightstown, Indiana
and purchased by the Northwestern Steel and Wire in 1930 and
moved to Rock Falls. Its product was and is fencing, though since
1945, Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. has diversified and expand-
ed the products manufactured. Its products now include: highway
reinforcing mats, reinforcing mesh, welded fabric, ornamental
lawn fence, gates, welded hardware cloth, plastic coated color
guard fence, plastic coated tot and lot fence, electro-galvanized
pump rods, stone wire, stovepipe wire, fence stretchers. Officers
of the company are: President, W.M. Dillon, Vice President, J. W.
Bowman; Secretary, S.V. Hitchcock; Treasurer, D.F. Laughlin;
Factory Superintendent, C.V. Robinson.
The Larson Company had its beginning in 1920, in a building
neighboring on the west of Bander's Machine Shop. The equipment
was later moved to a building adjoining Wahl Clipper Corporation
on East Third Street. By 1923, they occupied a building on Avenue
G where they remained for 33 years. In 1956, the new plant was
built on Route 30, two miles east of Route 88.
The company is closely tied to local industry for supplies as
well as customers. Their products have changed with the times
and demands of the changing people. Their light hardware was re-
placed by heavy steel to supply materials for the modern new
The Larson Company was a pioneer in their own right when it
came to a safety program. They held periodic safety meetings be-
fore the National Safety Council was even established, of which
Larsons is a charter member. They have won safety awards in
nationwide "no-accident contests", which enables its employees
to enjoy insurance and hospitalization plans.
The factory is one of the few in the area who have no records
of lay-off, due mainly to its close relation with local industry.
Some of the newer industries in Rock Falls include the Hill
Fastener Corporation, located on McNeill Road. It was founded
inl957by W.E. Hill, Jr. and J.R. Hill, who is deceased. The
factory produces small bolts and nuts, but its primary product is
special fasteners of various designs. The plant employs approxi-
mately 31 people.
Videocraft, whose home office is in Chicago, came to Rock
Falls in 1966, occupying a part of the old International Harvester
buildings on West Second Street. This plant makes component parts
for television sets and employs about 130 persons. Mr. Leo Thomp-
son is the plant manager.
Frazer Manufacturing Corporation is located in Rock Falls'
new Industrial Park on East Eleventh Street. Owned by Mr. Charles
Frazer, it manufactures electrical fence posts and wire. It em-
ploys 6 or 7 persons.
The Sterling Alloy Casting Corporation is located at 102 First
Avenue in what was a part of the old Keystone works . The plant
makes gray iron and semi-steel castings for industry throughout
the Middle West. Mr. Claude Robinson is the executive vice-pres-
ident and manager.
Sedcon, Inc., is managed by James N. McNich, and is located
on Route 30, east of Rock Falls. They produce Sterling Electric
Door Controls for garage, factory or warehouse use.
Rock Falls is growing and will continue to grow because of the
industrial potential of our area. One of the things which will make
for the future development of our area is the Industrial Develop-
ment Committee, headed by Orvel DeWeerth, who in co-operation
with the city council, is helping develop the Industrial Park so it
will be used to establish new industries in our area. With this area
set aside for development, it means the future of Rock Falls is
secure for many years to come. The Industrial Park is located for
rail - truck- air and if needed, water transportation, as it is near
the canal, which helped our area in the years past.
GEYER MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Geyer Manufacturing Company was organized by F.H. Geyer and
his son Howard A. Geyer in 1918. The factory was started in a bam
located on the lot south of the present post office and behind the
residence occupied by the F.H. Geyer family. The company start-
ed out by making four items of garden tools - a hoe, a rake and two
styles of cultivators.
In 1920, a fire, which completely demolished the barn and most
of its contents, forced the company to move to its East Third Street
location, where it built its first building. It continued expansion in
this area until the plant's removal from the community in 1966.
In 1933, Mr. F.H. Geyer died and Howard A. Geyer assumed
the presidency. Under his leadership, the business continued to ex-
pand until Geyer was able to offer the trade a complete line of what
is known in the industry as "steel goods", ie: hoes, rakes, cultiva-
In 1952, Geyer Manufacturing sold the assets of its drop forging
division to Illinois Forge, Inc. , a newly formed company, organized
specifically for the purpose of making drop forgings exclusively.
This was desireable since the two businesses were oriented toward
different sales efforts and really had nothing in common except
management personnel. Mr. Geyer assumed the presidency of the
new company also.
In 1957, Geyer Manufacturing Company sold the remaining assets
and all the garden tool business to the Wood Shovel and Tool Com-
pany of Piqua, Ohio. This was a logical move, since neither made
the type of tools manufactured by the other and yet all the major
competing industries had both lines of steel goods and shovels.
Woods continued to expand the lines and purchased one of the
buildings abandoned by the International Harvester Company to bet-
ter serve their customers.
In 1965, Woods decided to sell their entire company to Bissell,
Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was the feeling of the new owners
that operations were spread too thin and so some Rock Falls pro-
duction facilities were moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and some
to Piqua, Ohio, closing the Rock Falls operation entirely.
As a matter of interest, it has been learned fairly recently, that
Bissell has turned over the production facilities of the Wood Shovel
&T00I Company to be run by the Union Fork and Hoe Company.
Men's Furnishings and Shoes
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ROCK FALLS ILLINOIS
REAL ESTATE - INSURANCE - BONDS
M. L. Humphrey
Dale J. Humphrey
Patricia A. Harmon
207 First Avenue
P.O. Box 147
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
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405 EMMONS ROAD ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS FORGE, INC.
Illinois Forge, Inc. was organized and incorporated in July,
1952. When organized, this company purchased all of the equipment
and assets of the drop forging division of Geyer Manufacturing Com-
pany. The formation of the company was made necessary because
of an increasing volume of forging business and the fact that there
was not sufficient room for the expansion of facilities at the existing
location. An area zoned for heavy industry and permitting plenty of
room for expansion was found on East Route 30.
The first building built at the present location was of mill type
construction, covering 4,000 square feet of floor space and housed
three drop hammers. Additions to the plant and equipment have been
made almost every year since that time and the square footage of
the manufacturing space is now about 50,000 square feet, with
twelve drop hammers up to 3000# ram weight, along with the neces-
sary auxiliary equipment to produce forgings. Employment has in-
creased from 30 employees in 1952 to 125 at present.
Illinois Forge, Inc. is a producer of custom made, commercial
drop forgings. There is no product line, as such, but each forging
is made to a specific customer specification, both as to material
and dimentional requirements. All forgings produced are made from
Carbon and Alloy steel. No non-ferrous metals are forged. Forg-
ings range in size from a few ounces to ten or twelve pounds.
The company does no machining or finishing of forgings at pre-
sent. After being made, the scale is removed from the surface by
a "shot-blasting" operation. They are then shipped to the customer
in this condition or they maybe sized or coined to within a few thou-
sandths tolerance in a coining press, if the customer so specifies.
Present officers of the company are: Kief fer Wenger, president;
Harold Eshleman, vice-president sales and secretary; Don L.
Fades, vice president production and John E. Wenger, treasurer.
On September I, 1952, Glenna entered the Miss America pageant
in Atlantic City, N.J. She appeared in the traditional bathing suit,
formal and talent displays. Her flute selections were "Pan" and
"Indian Love Call". Deems Taylor, a judge at the contest, praised
her for her musical talent, but she didn't receive the title.
Following the contest, Glenna returned to her studies at North-
western University, continuing in flute. She graduated with honors
and proceeded to Columbia University for graduate in music. Here
she met Alfred Fischer, who is now her husband. They live in New
York City and are parents of two lovely children, Adam, who is 3,
and Melissa, who is less than a year. Glenna takes time out from
her family to keep up with her flute, piano and voice and reflects
her adventures as Miss Illinois.
Representing the state as well as our city, was Glenna Pohly,
who became Miss Illinois In 1952. She had won the Miss Sterling
pageant, sponsored by the Sterling Junior Chamber of Commerce,
when she was 19 and a sophomore music student at Northwestern
University. Considerations for the judging were based on natural
beauty, poise, personality and talent. At this time, Glenna was5'2"
tall and weighed all of 112 pounds.
Glenna, during her years in Merrill school and Rock Falls High
School, was always active in school affairs, as well as in herchurch
and musical circles. She attained many honors with her musical
talent on the flute and was also a talented pianist and vocalist. She
graduated with honors from both grade and high school. She re-
ceived the American Legion award upon graduation from Merrill
school and was valedictorian of her high school class. She was the
first student graduating who had had all A's on her report cards.
Glenna entered the Miss Illinois beauty pageant at East St. Louis
on May 17, 1952. She was one of 12 contestants from Alton, Bloom-
inton, Carbondale, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, East St. Louis,
Harvey, Moline, Pontiac, Quad Cities and Quincey. Her talent and
beauty excelled again and she was crowned Miss Illinois, spending
the following summer making personal appearances at special oc-
casions all over the state, as well as opening the Minneapolis Aqua-
Glenna Pohly, Miss lllii
Rock Falls Dairy
1300 WEST 2ND STREET
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
804 1ST AVENUE
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
ROCK RIVER PROVISION CO., INC.
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West on Route 30, Rock Falls Across From Jul's Farm
A. A. Thome & Frank Decker
A. A. THOME
A history of Rock Falls, Illinois would be totally incomplete
without the name Anthony A. Thome. It was men like "Tone" whose
energy, devotion and spirit enabled Rock Falls to thrive and grow.
Born in Jordon Township on January 1, 1864, Mr. Thome was
raised and educated in Lee County. Life was not easy for anyone
those days, and a young boy learned that early. A comforting home
and sheltered school existence ceased for this lad at the age of
thirteen when he was hired out for$5.00a month. In his own words:
"I did as much work as the hired man, followed him around from
morn 'til night on the plow, took care of the team, milked five cows,
fed the pigs and chickens and then had to hold the baby."
The long working hours and the tedious labor of the farmer held
little reward for him; therefore, several years and many jobs later,
found him in the blacksmith trade. One learned a trade by working
at it. Thus, Anthony Thome prepared himself for his chosen pro-
fession by working for Teach and Bracken; a second apprenticeship
was served under John Adair. After a two year partnership with
Adair in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Thome bought him out. Having "found
himself", he built a shop of his own three years later. This was the
famous smithy shop on First Avenue in Rock Falls which he oper-
ated alone for five years.
When his business was successfully established, Thome admitted
John Decker to partnership. They would shoe many a horse in the
course of a day. Payment ran as high as $2. 00 per horse until com-
petition became so keen that it dropped to as low as 50^. This was
due to the fact that at one time, there were 14 blacksmith shops in
Sterling and 5 in Rock Falls. When the horse shoeing business began
to diminish, the blacksmith sharpened plowshares. People came
for many miles to have this work done.
The old pump which stood outside the Thome and Decker Black-
smith Shop was much used by the populace and came to be a land-
mark in itself.
Thome and Decker were in partnership for 51 years, one of the
longest partnerships in the country. As Tone said, "We have been
together for 51 years all told, with a fight, which I think is a pretty
good record." After the death of Mr. Thome in 1951, Decker con-
tinued the business until May of 1952. The building has since been
remodeled and is still owned by Mr. Decker's son, Wilbur.
Anthony Thome's personal life found him married to Miss Lily
Johnson in 1888. To this union, six children were born: Mabel
(Eakle), Roy, Clyde, Effie (Pollock), Anthony and Dora (Jacobs).
His first wife psssed away in 1932 and he then married Miss Mary
Metzger. Mr. Thome passed away at the age of 87.
An asset to his community, Thome served on the school board
for 12 years, holding the office of board president for one year.
During that year, Thome School was built and named for him. His
political career began as alderman for a four year term. This was
followed by his election as mayor in 1907. Mayor Thome was re-
elected three times to total fourteen years as mayor of Rock Falls .
His greatest feat was the paving of the street and alleys of the city
during his terms of office.
1951 marked the death of A. A. Thome, but his many accom-
plishments still live in the city of his pride - Rock Falls, Illinois.
Sponsored by Orville Thome of Thomewoy Lines, Rock Falls, III .
SWEN PARSON LIBRARY
Nofthern Illinois Universay
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LAWRENCE BROTHERS, INC. • STERLING, ILLINOIS
OLD SALTS FROM THE SEA OF HISTORY
Individuals began our town, organized it, and have kept it going.
They have organized groups that work in teams to better the city,
but the drive and organization comes from a few people who need to
be recognized, not only for a great achievement, but for being one
of the forefathers of achievements that were yet to come. The fol-
lowing biographical sketches will help highlight some of these indi-
viduals who are responsible for our city.
Isaac Merrill was the first settler in Coloma Township. He was
a native of Connecticut and along with Edward Atkins, began the
first settlement on this side of Rock River in 1837. In the same
year, Noah Merrill settled here. November 6, 1838, a son was born
to Noah. Nelson B is believed to be the first white child in Coloma
Township. Isaac Merrill was a farmer and a shoemaker and also
an adventurer, because he sold his claim in 1849 to continue west
Noah Merrill built a cabin 12 x 15 feet, which was covered with
bark and had a puncheon floor. He and his family first lived with
Dan Brooks, residing in the portion of Rock Falls known as "Gopher
Town" during the 1870 's. ("Gopher Town" was the southwest part
of Rock Falls, taking in the territory now between 10th Avenue and
11th Avenue and from West 5th Street to about 7th or 8th Street.)
The united families numbered 11, one bed and the floor furnish-
ed sleeping quarters for all. The women were sisters, so the fam-
ilies lived on peaceable terms.
In 1838, Noah Merrill settled his family in their own cabin op-
posite Eagle Island and broke several acres of prairie. This same
land was claimed by Elijah Worthington of Harrisburg. He having
made his claim by plowing around the land. The "Anti-Claim Jum-
pers Association", on the north side of the river, through a com-
mittee, notified Mr. Merrill he must abandon his claim, under
penaltyof having his familyand his possessions thrown in the river.
Mr. Merrill decided to resist this threat and in company with Mr.
Brooks, they secured arms to await the visitors who did not show up.
Mr. Merrill later sold his claim and in 1850, went to Califor-
nia, where he suffered great hardships. After four years, he re-
turned to Illinois. He settled in Sterling where he passed away
December 22, 1873. He had three children other than Nelson, who
was born here.
Truman Culver, for whom Culver Street was named, was bom
in Booneville, N. Y. , September 9, 1835. Due to his having asthma,
he was unable to attend school until he was 14 .years old. But he
advanced so fast in his education, that at the age of 17, he began to
teach school. From the age of 22 to 24, he attended college in the
winter and did manual labor the rest of the year.
He next went to Pikes Peak to dig for gold, but was not success-
ful. After remaining there a month, in company with three others,
he made two canoes from cottonwood, lashed them together to keep
them from rocking while on the water and started from Denver
(which at that time had only 7 sod houses) down the Platte River to
Omaha. But after going about 150 miles, they came to grief by the
upsetting of their craft in a whirlpool caused by a beaver dam. They
lost everything except a part of a sack of flour. They made a fire
on the bank, rolled their rescued flour, which had become wet in
the accident, into balls and roasted them in the coals for their
bread, which they stored in a small sack. They started on foot and
subsisted on these bread balls two days, when they met an old trap-
per, from whom they purchased an old coffee pot, without spout,
handle or bail for $4.50. In this, they made a gruel out of the dry
portion of the balance of their flour, which lasted them about a
After their gruel was gone, they barely subsisted for many days
on cactus, weeds and grass and 5 frogs. One night, Mr. Culver
heard his two companions plotting to kill and eat him. He pretended
he heard some frogs which he went to look for and thus disappeared
from those fellows. He soon fell in with a band of Indians who gave
him "jerked" antelope. They refused money but did accept a bright
colored tie. With this sustenance, Mr. Culver walked on for many
days until he sank exhausted on the bank of the Platte. He wrote on
an envelope, his address and a statement that he had starved to
death, and there he lay insensible, he didn't know how long, when
he was discovered by four men, in the first boat that ever succeed-
ed in getting down the river. They took him aboard their boat and
gave him broth and after a few days, he was strong enough to steer
the boat. Their provisions, too, were soon exhausted and they had
to search for something to eat. The best they could find was the
carcass of a buffalo that had Iain so long as to become tainted, but
they made it palatable by scorching it. A day or two after it gave
out, they arrived at Fort Kearney, where they were cared for by the
army surgeons. Mr. Culver found he weighed only a little over 100
pounds, having lost about 70 pounds.
Mr. Culver came to Whiteside County and worked on a farm near
Morrison in 1861. He enlisted in the Union Army as a private and
was under fire more than 100 times. At the battle of Gettysburg,
he was wounded in the right ankle on the second day of the engage-
ment, but he remained on duty to the close of that battle. He was
honorably discharged in 1864 as a First Lieutenant.
Mr. Culver was married to Miss Clarinda Allen on September
5, 1865 in Morrison. He then came to Rock Falls and opened a gro-
cery store, building the first new store building in Rock Falls on
the corner of Main and May Streets. He then engaged in the boot and
shoe business one door east. In 1898, Mr. Culver built the build-
ing now occupied by Harting's Market. Truman Culver was the first
postmaster in Rock Falls, taking that post on March 15, 1868 when
the postoffice was established.
Mr. and Mrs. Culver had but one child. Glen, who died at the
age of five years. Mr. Culver passed away January 31, 1907.
Augustus P. Smith
Augustus P. Smith, Esq. was a native of Cobleskill, New York
and was born February 2', 1831. In 1848, he went to New York City,
where he resided two years and then became a resident of Cherry
Valley, New York, where he also remained for two years. He then
moved to Gloversville, New York, residing there until he moved to
Sterling, Illinois in 1856. Mr. Smith was married to Miss Elvira J.
Champlin at Goversville, April 14, 1855. To this union were born
four daughters; Florence May in 1859, Mabel E. in 1861, Helen
Marr in 1863 and Gertrude in 1868. Mr. Smith passed away on
October 1, 1895, leaving his wife and one daughter, Helen Klinck
to mourn his passing. The funeral services were held from the Rock
Falls Methodist Church with the Congregational pastor. Rev. Fren-
denhagen officiating. Flags were flown at half mast in both Rock
Falls and Sterling. Mr. Joseph Wright wrote in 1927: "he was pain-
fully impressed at the few that attended his funeral todo him honor".
Although at one time he was a very wealthy man, he died virtually
a pauper. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery. His wife passed
away in December of 1899.
Mr. Smith, while residing in Sterling, was a music teacher and
directed the choir in the Congregational Church. Mr. Wright, who
had many business dealings with him, stated "he was a man of more
than ordinary ability, with a very pleasing manner and a fine musi-
He built a fine home, Oaklawn, at what is now 704 East Second
Street. The house is still standing and is now occupied by Mr. and
Mrs. Ney Phillips. The first business he started was the Smith and
Smith Flouring Mill, which burned down soon afterwards. In 1869,
he also built the mitten factory. In 1872. he organized a company
and built the Industrial Building. He established several other small
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manufacturing concerns, none of which he operated for very long.
An 1877 city directory, shows him having a knitting mill over
Chamberlins Jewelry Store, and also a real estate office from which
he sold business and residential lots and hydraulic power.
Almon Wheeler was born in West Moreland, N.H. in August,
1813. He became a school teacher in that state, which occupation
he followed until he came west. June 1, 1842, he was united in mar-
riage with Miss Eliza Wellington. They came toniinois in the early
1850's, making their home first in Belvidere and then in Cherry
Valley, where he engaged in the lumber business. In 1873, they
moved to Mendota and in 1867 to Rock Falls. In both places, he
engaged again in the lumber business. His first business was on the
sight of the old paper mill, then to the present site of the Johnston
Lumber Co. He was instrumental in getting the railroad to Rock
Falls. From 1873 through 1875, he was president of the board of
the village of Rock Falls.
He built a fine home on the site now occupied by the Rock Falls
post office. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler had three children, Frank Wel-
lington, Susan, who married W.W. Brown and Jennie, who married
F.H. Geyer. HowardGeyer of the Geyer Mfg. Co. was born in this
Mrs. Wheeler passed away March 3, 1887 and Mr. Wheeler on
June 28, 1892. They have many descendants in this area.
F.W. Wheeler and W.W. Brown carried on this business which
Almon had established.
Augustus P. Smith
Writer, teacher, nurseryman and poet, Grove Wright had his
nursery. Maple Grove, north of what is now Dixon Avenue as far as
Third Street. He made a specialty of fruit and greenhouse plants
and had some $10,000 invested in this property. There was also a
deposit of peroxide of iron or hemitite on this property. This min-
eral was used In the manufacture of paint by the Sterling Mineral
Paint Co. and the paint lasted so well, many railroads and manu-
facturers used it across the country. One can still see traces of
this mineral in the form of red deposits along the' river bank.
Mr. Wright at one time taught at the Old Brick School (East
Coloma). At a picnic held at this school in 1897, Mrs. Nancy Ma-
comber read a poem of 26 stanzas which Mr. Wright had written.
Two of the verses are:
This is the lot, and this is the spot
Assigned to education;
And here was laid without parade,
The old brick school foundation.
Whate'er befalls, long may these walls,
With reverence still impress you.
Then will your years, have scanty tears,
And Children's children bless you.
Daniel F. Batcheller
Daniel F. Batcheller was born in Bethel, Vermont, September
8, 1803. In May of 1840, he came to this area and made a claim in
Coloma. He had 6 children, among whom was Henry F. Batcheller,
born in 1834. Henry invented and secured a patent on a hand com
planter in 1858 and began manufacture of this planter, along with
his father. The Sr. Batcheller retired in 1870 and in 1876, Henry's
son, A.M., became a partner. They added the manufacturing of
windmills, cheese boxes and did planing as well as all kinds of saw-
ing. Their factory was on River St. , now First Street. In the 1870's
he lived about a mile east ofR.F. and was supervisor of the town of
Asa F.R. Emmons
Asa F.R. Emmons was born in Kingston, Canada. His early
years were passed in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York City.
In the latter place, he worked at the carpenter's trade.
On December 25, 1835, he was married to Elizabeth AnnBartlett
in Pennsylvania. A daughter Harriet, who married a Mack, was
born to this union on April 1, 1838. In 1839, he and his wife with all
their earthly belongings, came to this area in a covered wagon.
They settled in Harrisburg, later called Sterling, when there were
only 4 houses in the town. He built the 5th, staking a claim in Co-
loma Township in 1840 and moving there. The site was 2 miles east
on the Dixon Road and there he built a small house. The sod was
broken by the use of three pair of oxen. One man drove the oxen
while the other held the plow. Com was taken to Peru, the nearest
market and there exchanged for coal. Wheat was hauled to Chicago
and sold for 25f a bushel. It took 5 days to come and go to market.
His wife died July 21, 1842. He was married to Nancy A. Booth
on January 31, 1842. To this union, 6 children were born.
In 1846, Asa went to the land office in Dixon and bought the 15
acres of land that he stocked out for $69.00. This land includes the
present Riverview and part of the Geyer Farm. On February 2,
1848, he sold the land to Eliphalet B. Worthington. In 1850, the
land was sold at a sheriff's sale for $9.75. He then moved to Rapid
City into a new home he had built, located at the corner of 5th Street
and 9th Avenue. The house is still standing on the southeast comer.
Mr. Emmons then entered a partnership with a Mr. Pierce.
They were carpenters, building houses along with building and sel-
ling furniture. Driving a team of horses and a wagon to Chicago,
they camped along the trail side. The journey was made many times
to purchase materials and items of furniture.
Asa's wife, Nancy, chose a sewing basket and a rocking chair
from the first two loads returned. These items are now in the pos-
session of Mrs. Maruice (Alice) Wick, a great, great, granddaugh-
1919 - 1967
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ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
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Asa was a tax collector in Rapids City in 1852 and was Rapid
City's second postmaster. He took an active part in the early poli-
tics ot both Rapid City and Rock Falls. With the co-operation of
Almon Wheeler, Mr. Emmons was instrumental in securing the
CB&Q railroad in Rock Falls. Asa died December 29, 1902, in
Rock Falls and interment was made in the I.O.O. F. Cemetery. He
was a member of the Rock Falls Methodist Church.
In addition to Mrs. Wick, other descendents living in Rock Falls
are Lloyd Emmons, a great grandson and Fred Johannsen, a great,
L.H. Woodworth was born in Norwich, Vermont, October 20,
1806. He attended the military, scientific and literary school at
Middletown, Conn. After completing his studies, he was a teacher
in the Military School at Perth Amboy, N.J., afterwards being an
assistant Professor of Mathematics in Jefferson College, Miss. He
spent two years in the state of New York as resident engineer up on
the Black River Canal. In the spring of 1839, he came west and
settled at the Upper Rapids on the south side of Rock River where
he bought the claim of Isaac Merrill. He had charge as engineer of
the contract to build the canal around the rapids in the river. Mr.
Woodworth divided part of his claim into lots, which are now apart
of Rock Falls. He and Dan Brooks were the two first Justices of the
Peace in Rapids Precinct. He was also a swamp land commissioner,
a surveyor and supervisor. Two sons were born by his first mar-
riage to Parmelia Parks; Leonard H., who in the 1870's, lived in
Sterling and Geo. L. who was killed in the Civil War in 1852. He
married Mrs. Alice Goodell in 1845 and to this union, Clarence and
Alice were born.
Joseph A. Bickford
Joseph A. Bickford, founder of the Eureka Mfg. Co., was a
native of Massachusetts. After engaging in manufacturing in Lock-
port, N.Y. and Houghton, Mich., he came to Illinois in 1868 and
settled in Rock Falls. He served as village trustee and also as
township collector and assessor at different times . Mr. Bickford
and his wife were parents of two children; a daughter, who died in
infancy and Joseph M.
Joseph M. became a pharmacist and entered into partnership
with F. W. Wheeler and opened a drug store in Rock Falls in 1880.
In 1882, he purchased Mr. Wheeler's interest and continued in bus-
iness until 1902. He then sold the business. In 1903, he opened a
drug store in Sterling which continued in operation until very re-
cently. Joseph A. was one of the organizers of the Rock Falls Meth-
odist Church and he and his wife and son lived on Gray Street just
south of Main Street. The Sterling Drugstore stayed in the Bickford
family through Dean and his son, Ned.
Dr. John L. Morrill
Dr. John L. Morrill came to Rock Falls to practice his profes-
sion in 1867. He was born October 19, 1823 at Olean, N.Y. He
practiced in Yorktown for eight years before coming to Rock Falls .
He and his wife had two children and were members of the Meth-
odist Church. They built a fine home onGroveSt. at the end of Elm,
now 300 Fifth Avenue.
Jeremiah V. McCarty
Jeremiah V. McCarty was born June 22, 1842 in London, Eng-
land. He came to America with his parents at the age of 8. The
family settled in Whiteside County in 1857, living on a farm north-
east of Round Grove. He enlisted in the army in 1861 at the outbreak
of the Civil War and served three years, taking part in many major
battles. He was fortunate, though, and was only hospitalized once.
When mustered out of the army, he followed various pursuits
until he took up railroading In 1868. During that time, he lived in
Logansport, Indiana and was married there to Mary Amelia Cassidy
on April 22, 1875. They had two children, Charles J. Gertrude,
who both graduated from Rock Falls High School. Gertrude married
John Kadel, Jr.
Mr. McCarty returned to Illinois in 1881 and settled in Rock
Falls, where he purchased the business interests of the Montague
familyand dealtin coal, lime and building materials on River Street.
He sold out that business in 1898 and engaged in building operations
until 1905 when he and his son-in-law, John Kadel, Jr. formed a
partnership in the hardware business.
J.V. McCarty was the paving contractor who layed the brick for
the paving of West 2nd Street and Dixon Avenue. Prior to this time,
the streets were just sand. A team of horses could hardly pull a
wagonload of grain or any material.
J.V. McCarty Coal Office
J.V. McCarfy on left, Ross Smith on rigfit, Man in center undentified
Paper Mill Office and Sfieldon's Elevator shown ,n rear
In, and shortly following the year 1875, seven members of the
Kadel family, five brothers and two sisters and their husbands,
moved from Fayette Co., Pennsylvania to make their homes in
Rock Falls. They were by name, Adam, Ben, John, Peter, William,
Catherine Kadel Stahl and MoUie Kadel Brown.
It is presumed that the old Keystone Manufacturing Co. drew
them to this community, as the men were all originally employed by
Ben and Peter Kadel eventually moved from Rock Falls. The
others lived out their lives here.
In later years, Wm. Kadel owned and operated a grocery store
on the main street. He also, at one time, was town commissioner
of streets and alleys .
Mr. John Kadel served his community as mayor for two terms,
as alderman several times and for many years, was the chairman
of the board of education. He was organizer and director of the
Keystone band which was well known throughout our area in the early
days of the city. He was cashier at the old Rock Falls National Bank
for many years.
Wm. H. Cadwell
Wm. H. Cadwell, who owned the first newspaper in Rock Falls,
was bom in Hartford, Conn, on December 28, 1826. He came to
Ulinois in 1856, residing in Belvidere where he engaged in the news-
paper business and was also an American Express Agent, in 1870,
he formed a partnership with W.H. Tuttle and came to Rock Falls
where they began publication of the Progress. Its publication was
discontinued after 6-1/2 years but Mr. Cadwell continued in the
job-printing business. Their business was conducted in #5 Industrial
Building. He and his wife had one daughter, who married Mr. W.H.
The Freshest Store in Town
RED CARPET TREATMENT
206 Dixon Avenue
Rock Falls, Illinois
Ws Sell Eun
Route #30 & 6th Avenue
Rock Falls, Illinois
KEN WIKE OIL CO
For Quality Petoleum Products
For Farm & Home Needs
Artemus W. Worthington was born in Colchester, Conn, in 1813
and settled in Colomu Township in 1840. He was the first postmaster
of Rapids in 1847. In 1849, he was again appointed that office and
was postmaster until 1855 as well as town supervisor in 1854.
He was a farmer and while picking up wheat sheaves in 1855, was
bitten by a rattlesnake, from the effects of which he died on August
At the time he came to Coloma Township, there were only two
houses on this side of the river. The first Worthington home was
built of hardwood walnut clapboards and the window sash and doors
were of butternut wood. The only means of crossing the Rock River
was in little dugouts. Artemus laid out the first state road, extend-
ing from Lanark to Peru, a distance of 90 miles. It frequently lay
across swamps and there was not a bush or sign of habitation with-
in 20 miles . His wife was still living in 1908 at the age of 96 . Alfred,
one of the six children born to the Worthingtons was a farmer and
served as town commissioner and road commissioner.
McNeil, a well-known name in Rock Falls, dates back to 1849
when Robert McNeil came to America on the Ship Fraconia from
Glasgow, Scotland. Mr. McNeil married at nineteen and brought
his bride to Coloma Township, east of Rock Falls to what is now
the Dixon Road. To this union 4 girls and 4 boys were born. Mr.
McNeil served as road commissioner for the township in 1890.
A son, Alex, had a hardware store in Rock Falls for many
years. The McNeils lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniver-
The Kelley Triplets
One of the great events to the citizens of Rock Falls and sur-
rounding territory in the year 1911, was the birth of triplets to Mr.
and Mrs. Guy Kelley. They had two sons at the time the triplets,
all girls, were born. The family lived on First Avenue, just north
of the Thome and Decker Blacksmith Shop at the time Helen, Hazel
and Hester were born.
In a recent communication with Hester, she told of some of the
happenings of her family. Their birth caused much excitement in
the community, as triplets were a rare happening in those days.
People flocked to their home just to see the three girls. They were
the subject of many baby pictures. Their parents enjoyed getting
them all dressed up to walk down the avenue or to have their pic-
tures taken. One time, they went out to the country home of Fred
G. Jurgens, a well-known photographer of that era, to have their
pictures taken. The Jurgens home was just outside the city limits,
on the Prophetstown Road and Mrs. Jurgens kept Jersey cows and
churned butter. On this particular occasion, the girls were all
dressed up in big bows, long white stockings and white dresses.
When Mr. Jurgens had his cameras set and ready to go, there was
no Helen. Looking about, they found she had fallen into a tall can of
buttermilk; so there was no picture that day.
Kelley was killed in anaccident in 1918. By this time, there was
another son and four months after his death, another daughter. The
family then moved toMendota, Illinois to be near a brother of Mrs.
Kelleys. When the triplets were fourteen, they moved to Darien,
Wisconsin, where the family began farming. The triplets were 18
years old before they were separated by marriage. Hazel and Hester
married Darien boys. Helen married Clifford Merwin of Woodstock,
Illinois. They now live in San Diego, California. Hazel, Mrs. Frank
Schuster, passed away inl9G4, of cancer. Mrs. Kelley passed away
three weeks later at the age of 81. Hester, Mrs. Royal Jones,
lives inDarien, Wisconsin. They are farmers and Hester is matron
and dietician at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf at Delavan.
Keliey Triplets, age 21
Hazel - He
t. 7, 1911, Rock Falls, lllinoi
I G. Jurgen
ny of the old pi
Josiah C. Sturtevant was born at Center Harbor, N.H., June 16,
1805. He came to Illinois in 1844 along with his wife, the former
Mary A. Robbins, whom he married inPeacham, Vermont on March
16, 1826. He began farming in Coloma Township. He and his wife
were parents of 17 children of whom 11 lived to maturity. A daugh-
ter, Antoinette, was the first school teacher in Coloma Township.
Mr. Sturtevant was made the first Justice of the Peace and also the
first road commissioner of the township. He retired from farming
in 1893 and moved into Rock Falls. His wife passed away February
3, 1881 and Mr. Sturtevant died October 4, 1895, the result of a
fall in which he broke his hip.
Isaac Sturtevant, a brother of Josiah, came to Illinois the same
year as his brother. He was also engaged in farming in Coloma
Township. He was married to Miss Susan Summers, November 25,
1834 and they had nine children. He also moved to Rock Falls when
The Sturtevants have many descendants still in this area, but
the only one bearing the name Sturtevant is John, a grandson of
Josiah, who lives on West 5th Street in Rock Falls.
Clarence Frye, M.D.
Clarence Frye was born in Morrison, April 4, 1877. He attended
the schools of Morrison and graduated from Rush Medical College
of Chicago in 1902. He then came to Rock Falls to practice the med-
Dr. Frye was coroner for 44 years; was Dr. for the old Key-
stone Co. for many years and was medical examiner for a large
number of years .
Dr. Frye was married to Miss Birdie Ferris, November 7,
1905 and they made their home at 305 Dixon Avenue. They were the
parents of four children; Helen (Cameron), Mary Ruth (Sonneman),
Catherine (Wyatt) and Vernon, now an attorney in Sterling.
Dr. Frye passed away December 1, 1950 and Mrs. Frye on Feb-
ruary 2, 1964.
Joseph Wright came to Rock Falls in 1869. He later bought a
farm in Montmorency Township, where he farmed until the death of
his wife in 1882. While there, he was elected highway commissioner
and along with James Frank and Cornell Batcheller, supervised the
construction of the first drainage ditches in Whiteside Co.
After selling his farm, he moved back to Rock Falls and went
into partnership with Sheldon and Son in the sale of farm machinery
and the buying and shipping of livestock to Chicago. He had charge
of the interests of .Abner Merrill in Rock Falls until Mr. Merrill
sold his interests to Martin Bros.
Mr. Wright was elected to the board of education and served
several terms and one term as president of the board. He was ap-
pointed mayor to fill out the term of Egbert Wilson, the first mayor
who passed away while in office. He was postmaster from 1894 until
1898. He served as a member of the city council for 20 years. He
then refused to serve longer unless Sterling and Rock Falls united
as one city. In 1913, Mr. Wright left Rock Falls and moved to
Michigan to a farm, and later moved to Chicago. He died in 1944 at
the age of 96.
Just before the turn of the century, the length of West Third
Street in Rock Falls, from the corner of Avenue B west to theCB&Q
tracks, was known as Swellhead Avenue, according to J. Willard
Andrews, who came to live on this famous old street on March 16,
1899. He was a schoolboy then and only later realized the reason it
was called Swellhead Avenue. Here on this street and in the neigh-
borhood lived the real backbone of Rock Falls, business and profes-
sional men and their families, as well as humbler, hard-working
folks who formed the sturdy fabric of which this community was
On this southeast corner of Swellhead Avenue and Avenue B,
livedGrove Wright, famous old schoolmaster and nurseryman. The
Worman family, the father a manufacturer of butter, lived on the
opposite corner, the southwest.
Next, let's take a quick glance at the folks who lived along the
south side of the street, from Avenue B to the Q tracks. Mrs. Bab-
cock and daughter Maizie, a school teacher, George Eckart who
came to help build the canal, liked Rock Falls and stayed; Phil Cul-
lins, clerk at the CB&Q depot in Sterling; D.O. Coe, partner in the
Coe & VanSant Lumber Co. , now Johnston Lumber Co. ; Tess Shaw,
who operated a hack line; Ed Limond, cigar manufacturer; S.N.
Mingle with the Keystone Mfg. Co.;J.M. Bickford, druggist; "Doc"
Boynton, conductor on the old Shabbona passenger; John L. Newton,
retired merchant; Mr. Creighton and son Len, a -brakeman on the
CB&Q; A.J. McNeil, hardware merchant; the Dr. Deeming family,
father of the late Dr. CO. Deeming;Dr. Blake, a young doctor and
friend of every boy in town; C.L. Hubbard, prosperous grocer; and
finally on this south side, near the tracks, Mr. Hoeffler, a retired
butcher, who raised his smoking tobacco on the sand hill where the
Geyer Mfg. Co. was for many years.
A cherished memory of many was the fun they had on the corner
of Swellhead Avenue and Avenue B. On this corner, all the boys and
girls of Swellhead and the surrounding neighborhood, assembled
nightly for "Run Sheep Run", "Duck on. Duck off" and many other
games. It was an unwritten law among the youngsters, that when
the Shabbona passenger whistled at the canal bridge, every kid
started for home. They never waited for the curfew which blew at
8 o'clock in winter and 9 in summer.
Proceeding down the north side of Swellhead on the corner, was
the home of Mr. Hayward, superintendent of Cobb & Drew, now the
RB&W. Next to it was one of the most beautiful old houses on the
street, the Holbrook home, used by the U.S. Engineers under Capt.
L.L. Wheeler, assisted by Fred Honens and Willard Powers. Next
to it, the home of Mrs. Sheldon, a widow and her children, Charles,
John, George and Florence, the next one was the home of H.H. Wil-
liamson, who peddled his wares from a democrat wagon hitched to
a big white horse. Mr. Williamson was a Civil War Veteran. Next
to it is the great white mansion, which was owned by A.C. Stanley,
the big merchant of northern Illinois who operated the Stanley House,
sold bread from his own bakery for 2^ a loaf, was supervisor of
Coloma Township and later mayor of Rock Falls. The next house
was the home of J. Willard Andrews. His father bought the house
from L.C. Thorne, the banker. F.E. Andrews, the father, was a
prominent lawyer. He made the survey that had the most to do with
the government's decision to place the Hennepin Feeder at Rock
Falls, rather than at Dixon.
ROCK FALLS FIRSTS
In the summer of 1867, the first general merchandise store in
the new village of Rock Falls was opened. It was operated in a
building moved here from Como by A.D. Hapgood on the northwest
corner of Main and May.
The first new store building was built by Truman Culver in Nov-
ember of 1867 and used as a grocery.
This was also the site of the first post office which was estab-
lished in 1868 and Mr. Culver was the first postmaster.
The first marriage also occurred in 1867; that of Gideon Rey-
nolds and Mary Arey.
The first birth was that of Lenoretta Barker in 1868 and the first
death also occurred in that year, that of B.C. Hunt on September 15.
The first drug store was begun in 1868 .
Andrew Goodell and Charles Ingall started the first hardware
store, also in 1868.
Joseph H. Bacchus was the first blacksmith, in 1868.
The first hotel was the Rock Falls House on what is now Third
Avenue. It was opened by Mr. Doty in 1868. (I believe this was the
old Marfleet house.)
The first meat market was opened in 1868 by Wm. L. Smith.
The first physician was Dr. J.L. Morrill who came in 1868.
The first schoolhouse was erected in 1868 at the corner of Elm
and Bridge streets. This building was also the first city hall, in
1889. Mr. M.R. Harris was the first teacher.
The first church was the Methodist Episcopal, organized in 1868.
The first village election was held on February 4, 1869.
The first village president wasW.L. Smith and Henry Price was
the first clerk.
The first jeweler was A.W. Erb, who began business m 1869.
Brown and Ryan were the first liverymen.
The first milliner was Mrs. N.L. Baldwin.
The first harness -maker was M. Hendricks who began business
The first barber shop was opened by James Rush in 1871.
The first railroad into Rock Falls was built in 1871.
The first newspaper in Rock Falls was the Rock Falls Progress
which commenced publication in 1870. Cadwell and Tuttle, owners.
James Scott was the first attorney, beginning practice here in
Julius Smith also opened the first furniture store in 1872.
The first band was the cornet band, organized in 1872, with 12
members. Mr. John Kadel was their leader. Wm. and Peter Kadel
were also members.
The first bank was established in 1874 by Ephraim Brookfield.
Samuel Schultz was the first shoemaker in 1872.
R.H. Sheldon and son were the first agricultural implement
Augustus P. Smith was the first real estate dealer.
In 1874, the first trip by the White Swan Ferry was made.
The first free bridge between Rock Falls and Sterling was built
The first lodge was the Ancient Order of United Workmen, In-
dustrial Lodge #5. It was instituted on June 12th, 1875 and Truman
Culver was the Master Workman.
The first fire department was the Keystone Hose Company, or-
ganized in July of 1876.
The first electric light plant was begun in 1895. The first light
customer was in the building where Wheelocks now stands. This
was also the first revenue of the company.
The first new car dealer was Samuel Frank. He sold Fords.
The first park was given by Abner Merrill and is now known as
Veterans Memorial Park.
The first pavement was built in 1905; 1st to 4th Avenues on West
REMINISCENCE OF C.A. SMITH
Charles Allen and his wile Agnes lived at 205 Dixon Avenue for
many years. He was retired and a veteran of the Civil War. They
celebrated IheirCSth anniversary. The following year, both of them
died, he at the age of 93, and she at 8K.
Lewis B. Ward
311 Dixon Avenue was the home of Lewis B. Ward, a retired
farmer. He and his wife lived there until around 1915, when they
both passed away, being close to 90 years old. Their son, Clarence
A. Ward and his wife lived on their farm at Stone Station. She died
in her 80's. Clarence drove to California at the age of 86 and lived
there until his death at about the age of 90.
Warren T. Burdick
Many of the brick houses of our city were built by Warren T.
Burdick, a brick mason and cement contractor. He lived on West
Second Street - the brick home now occupied by Wayne Cleveland,
a high school teacher.
Charles, the brother of Warren, was also a cement and plaster-
ing contractor. He lived at 506 Seventh Avenue for many years.
Andrew S. Goodell
"Goodell Court" was named after the Andrew S. Goodell's, who
lived at 311 E. Fourth Street. In his day, there was no inside plumb-
ing or modern conveniences of any kind. They had a cistern for rain
water and a driven well with an iron pump for their cooking and
drinking water. When this house was built in the "wilderness", the
well was driven and somehow overlapped about four feet onto the
adjoining lot. When this lot was sold in 1912, Goodell was quite
concerned about the buyer preventing his use of the pump. He was
assured it wouldn't happen. Their house was sold several years
after he and his wife passed away.
Samuel H. Figeley
Samuel Figeley resided at 309 E. Third Street. He had been a
salesman and traveled extensively. In 1933 he was elected mayor of
Rock Falls and served until 1945. He was then associated with the
Weeks Coal Co. of Sterling.
Sam was a Spanish War Veteran of 1898. He passed away in 1950
at the age of 76.
105 Second Avenue was the home of the Ed Adams family. He
was employed as a clerk in the Wm. Sowles Grocery Store. Ed
passed away in 1927 at the age of 71.
Gus Hansen was a barber doing business on West Second Street
for many years. He was aSpanish War Veteran. After retiring from
the barbershop, Gus served as constable and Justice of the Peace
in his home at 702 First Avenue until he passed away in 1963 at the
age of 93. Gus served our city as mayor from 1931 to 1933, when
he was succeeded by Sam Figeley.
Limond ran a tobacco store and news stand on West Second
Street, rolling his cigars by hand from leaf tobacco. He died in 1936
at the age of 89.
Johnson was a rural mail carrier in the horse and buggy days,
in the late 90's and early 1900 's. He lived at 200 E. Third Street.
O.J. used two horses to alternate every other day since the mail
route was 25 or 27 miles and quite a drive everyday over dirt roads
that were often impassible in the spring.
This site was sold to Mr. Geyer who started the Geyer Mfg.
Plant, which later was sold to "Wood, Shovel and Tool Co.". The
plant was closed in 1964. John Dussler, who is the grandson of O.J.
Johnson, bought the building in 1966. John was born on the very
location of the building he purchased.
Lars Peter Jensen
Of Danish descent, Jensen was a carpenter by trade and general
contractor. He resided at West Second Street and 10th Avenue. His
workshop and planing mill were next door, his machinery being
powered by a large gasoline engine.
Jensen was the contractor for the Fourth Street Methodist
Church in Sterling. (P.T. VanHorn was the architect.) He also
erected several of the fine homes, among them a large two story
residence for N.G. Van Sant, an attorney at 601 Second Avenue,
Sterling. The building is now owned and occupied by Attorney Robert
W. Besse. Around 1927, Jensen sold his shop and business to Ben
Brainerd and moved to Third Avenue and First Avenue, the present
Wheelock-AUen Funeral Home.
Joseph O. Wagley
Wagley was a Civil War Veteran. His home was at 412 E. Fifth
St. He lived 92 years in our city, and was respected and admired by
everyone. He passed away in 1930.
Moates had a furniture repair shop in the basement beneath the
Stone Insurance Agency on Second Avenue. He was one of the three
founders of the Coloma Park District, along with Jacob Cantlin as
president and Charles A. Smith as secretary-treasurer. He was
present at the joint park meeting with Sterling Park members, over
the operation of Lawrence Park, which is in Coloma Township.
Harry died in 1938 at the age of 72.
Porter G. Kelsey
Porter lived at 302 Second Avenue. He operated a harness shop
on West Second Street in the late80's. Later, his son William join-
ed the business. In the early 1900's, he erected a large double house
across the street from his residence. In recent years, the site has
been purchased by the Rock Falls Bank and demolished to make
room for a parking lot.
Mouk lived at 808 W. Second Street. He was in partnership with
James Hatch in 1910. Together they manufactured cement blocks_
from their factory which was located on the river bank at 12th Ave-
nue, where the Rock Falls High School parking lot now stands.
Mouk built several homes on LeRoy Avenue. All were made of
blocks of huge dimension, such as 8".x8"x24". Later years regulated
the size to 8"x8"xl6". On the corner at 800 LeRoy Avenue, Mouk
erected a three apartment building, which is now owned by Lee C.
Wilkens. The business block at East Second St. and First Avenue
was erected by Frank W. Wheeler and was made fromMouk's larg-
er size block. The partnership dissolved after a few years, and the
John Pippert, Sr.
A meat and butcher shop was operated by Pippert and his four
sons at West Second Street and Third Avenue. Henry was store op-
erator, Charles was farm manager of Rock Falls, William was a
Canadian farmer, and John Jr. was a salesman for a Chicago Pack-
At their farm in Montmorency, they fed and fattened many fine
steers for their own business and the Chicago markets. All four
sons have passed away. John Pippert Sr. passed away inl919at the
age of 72.
A.L. Coe was an auctioneer and livestock buyer. He went into
partnership with Charles Pippert under the name of "Coe and Pip-
pert". They shipped many cars of cattle and hogs to Chicago from
the yards at the C.B. & Q. depot in Rock Falls. Hogs were some-
times hauled by team and wagon. Coe lived at 308 E. Second St.
Ross Smith ;iiid Fred Gnilcr formed a partniTshi^ and started
a coal business located on West Second Street (now owned and op-
erated by Joe Rubin and Sons). Smith purchased the s;round from
J.V. MeCart\ . The coal business lasted for several years. Then
Smith joined Fred Geyer in the manulaeturintv of garden utensils.
They began the Geyer Mfg. Co., building a factory a block long be-
tween Kast Third and East Fourth St., across from the C.B. &Q.
depot. Smith lived at iOOO West Second Street.
A.C. Stanley, maxorfrum 1913 to lOl.'i, came to Rock Falls
from .Aurora. He had been employed there by the C.B. & Q. Rail-
road in the car department. After moving here around 1873, he be-
came a carpenter, building and selling coffins at the coffin factory
lor 9 years. For the next 35 years, he established a grocery store
in the 100 block on West Second Street. In the latter years, he was
helped b\ his sons. Earl and Walter. Eli Gudeman bought the store
and continued in the business, which was in a wood frame building.
In the late 80's, it was moved to the east side of First Avenue, now
owned b\ Ray Hughes and known as Ray's Garden Shop. On the same
site, StanlcN erected a 3 story building, the upper floors being a
hotel, and the lower one housing a dining room that served meals
for 25-35 cents. It was operated by Jule Whitney.
Stanley was foreman of the wood department at hiternalional
Harvester Co. His family lived at 300 East Third Street. Today,
his youngest sonHoward operates a coal business in Sterling. Stan-
ley was an ardent worker and committeeman for the Corn Carnivals
which originated around 1910.
Elmer K. Teach
Teach was a blaclcsmith by trade. His shop was located at West
Second Street and Fourth Avenue, across from the City Hall. His
home was at 400 Gait Avenue.
Ben Teach and Robert Bracken also did lilacksmilh work from
the shop at 30G West Second Street.
Worman operated a shoe store on West Second Street for several
years. He lived on East Third Street. Thomas was aCivil War Vet-
eran. He died about 1909, at the age of H2.
LaShelle operated a team and wagon delivery service for the
merchants, hauling all goods from the depot to their place of busi-
ness. In thosedays, all shipments came by rail, regardless of their
origin. LaShelle was a Civil War Veteran. He died in 1943 at the
age of 97.
M. L. Washburn
Washburn operated a grocery store on West Second Street
from the IsaO's until his death in 1929, when he was 7H. He was of
the old school and stuck with the old ideas, alwa\s having time for
a practical joke.
Di the days of the Corn Carnival, he placed in his store window,
a halt dozen coconuts and fixed them up to imitate and look like
some of his fellow merchants, with their names, such as L.P. Mc-
Millen, T.J. Wylie, Wm. Sowles, Sr., Dr. F.J. Scott, Wm. Stone
or F.H. Geyer, merely for a joke. The town got much enjoyment
from his wit.
Old Merrill School Building on left- nov«
ROCK FALLS SCHOOLS
The first permanent settlement in Coloma Township was made
by Isaac Merrill and Edward Atkins early in 1837. Coloma's first
school was taught in 1845 by Anastascia Sturtevant.
Classes were first held in an old store building in Rapids City,
as Rock Falls was then known. The next year, the people agreed to
pay L.H. Woodworth twenty dollars for a twelve by twelve frame
building originally built for storing corn. Mr. Woodworth was to be
paid in produce. This building served as a school house until 1854,
having been moved to the location of the present East Coloma School.
The city of Rock Falls had its beginning in 1867. The first
school was held in a brick building located on First Avenue, where
the Decker building now stands. Then it was moved to the present
site of the Merrill School. It was moved about 1880 to the corner
of Second Street and Fourth Avenue, where it was used as a munici-
pal building until 1965 when it was demolished.
The following teachers were mentioned as serving the Rock
Falls Schools during this period of its history. Mr. Harris C. Parks,
C.D.Glenn, A.D. Tyson, Fayette Johnson, Miss M. Rowland, Mr.
Woodbridge and Harry A. Smith.
In 1895, the annex was built connecting with the building built in
1888. This building was used as a high school. The teachers for
this year were as follows: Prof. O.E. Phares, Superintendent;
E.L. Davis, Principal, Miss Smith and Miss Myrtle Shaffer.
Grade teachers were: Jedd Landwere, Marion Leydig, Miss
Nellie Jacobs, Miss Lulu Miller, Miss Omer, Miss Mabel Treash-
er. Miss Clara Gilbert, Miss Bessie McNeil, Mrs. Nellie Halstead,
Miss Muriel Price, singing teacher.
The annex and the brick building were connected by a fire escape
which the children used to cross from building to building. This
building was demolished in 1953 to make room for the extension of
the new Junior High School on South Merrill.
Two frame buildings were erected on the present site of Merrill
School before the first brick building was erected in 1888. This
brick building contained eight rooms. By this time, enrollment had
reached three hundred students under the leadership of B.F. Hen-
dricks. Mr. M.F. McAllister was custodian.
The new high school building on West Second Street was com-
pleted in 1921. Since that time, two new additions have been added.
One of these additions was in 1941. Since 1880, when six students
comprised the first graduating class to now, with over two hundred
twenty-five graduates annually. Rock Falls Township High School
has become a big institution of learning. The principal of the school
Is Forest L. Tabor.
We should not fall to mention that the old Christian Church was
the high school for a few years prior to moving to the new structure
on West Second Street In 1920 .
Maybe some of you Rock Falls alumni, young and old, remem-
ber ihese men: Harry A. Smith, W.R. Kirk. B.F. Hendricks, Prof.
Haney, O.E. Phares, C.R. Holsinger, J.B. Wallace, R.M. Robert-
son, L.S. Chamberlain and Carl Thokey. All of these men were at
one time principals of Rock Falls High School. Mr. Forest Tabor
has been the present principal since 1950.
In the early nineteen hundreds, while A. A. Thome was mayor,
a need for a school was apparent in the east end of town. In 1913,
Thome School was built. It consisted of three rooms. As the popu-
lation increased, additional space was needed. In 1949, an addition
of nine classrooms, office and gymnasium were attached to the
original structure. Today, Thome School enrollment averages four
hundred thirty students. Every available nook and corner is used to
give these students the benefits of modern education. The principal
at Thome School since 1957 is Werdell Clark who is retiring this
Now we shall go west to Merrill School again. Rock Falls was
in the midst of a population spurt in the nineteen thirties and forties.
Present facilities were overtaxed so a separate building was built
east of the old high school. This building, known as South Merrill,
was completed in 1939. The principal of Merrill School is Donald
Again students outnumbered facilities, so old East Merrill,
formerly part of the old high school, was razed to make room for
a junior high school.
South Merrill was joined to the north and south by additions to
make the new Rock Falls Junior High School. Recently, the new
gymnasium was attached to the new Junior High School building.
The Junior High was dedicated in 1955. The principal is Dwayne W.
During the nineteen hundred fifties. Rock Falls had a building
boom to the south across Route 30.
Dillon School was built in 1952. Again this building became too
small for existing conditions, so in 1958, and again in 1963, addi-
tions had to be added to accommodate the influx of new students.
Dillon School has an average enrollment of six hundred fifty stu-
dents. The principal at Dillon School is Mr. Kenneth Glover.
Many old timers may remember W.S. Dimmett as Superinten-
dent. Mr. E.I. Lehr followed Mr. Dimmett and was Superintendent
for thirty years. Clark D. Hoot is the present Superintendent.
Mr. FredHagerman was custodian of the school for over twenty-
eight years, retiring in the late 1950's. He was friend and confidant
to countless pupils during that long period of time.
Mrs. (Genevieve) John Vickrey served as a very efficient sec-
retary to the Superintendent of the schools for many years.
Among the many teachers who have served on the faculty of the
Rock Falls elementary schools for long periods of tune might be
listed the following: Miss Beulah Waples, Miss M. Elizabeth Ham-
ilton, Miss Julia Whiteley and Miss Leora Black. Many more might
be mentioned, who taught here for ten to twenty years or more.
In addition to the Rock Falls public schools, St. Andrews parish
supports a grade school which has been in operation for the past
fifteen years. They have been educating boys and girls of our com-
munity for service to God and to Country in accordance with the
motto over the main entrance to their school building located at
700 10th Avenue. The sisters of Loretto and lay teachers staff the
school with Sister Marietta, S.L. as principal. Three hundred and
forty-four boys and girls are currently enrolled in St. Andrews in
grades one through eight, with the majority of them coming from
Rock Falls. The operation of St. Andrew's school, since it is sub-
sidized by the people of the parish represents a contribution to the
Rock Falls community by the parishioners of St. Andrew's annually
in e.xcess of $120,000.
The schools on either end of the township have been growing by
leaps and bounds as the community expands beyond the city limits.
The first East Coloma School was a small 12 x 12 building which
was moved from Rapids City to a land site donated to the conmiun-
ity for a school by Thomas Yeoward. This was in 1846 and the
building served as a school for the next eight years. The Yeoward
family has had five generations attending this school, and four gen-
erations have served on the school boards through the years. In
1854, a brick school house was built and the old building was sold
to Thomas Robinson who used it as a residence. In 1906, the old
brick school was replaced with a frame building, around which all
the new additions have been built. Just this year, the original frame
building was demolished.
Some early members of the school boards are familiar names,
even today: Burt Emmons, John Emmons, John Rosengren, Frank
Brown, Alfred Worthington, John McNeil. The road on the west
side of the school being McNeil Road, is named for the McNeil
family. Most of the area known as the Yeoward addition is in Mont-
In 1950, East Coloma School consisted of 125 pupils and a fourth
teacher was added to the staff. Now, in 1967, the enrollment is
about 400 with a staff of 21 full and part-time teachers, showing
the tremendous growth in this area of the township. The principal
is Peter Ternetti.
On the west side of the township, we find Riverdale School. Old
records of the school were destroyed sometime in the 1930 's when
someone was "housecleaning", so much of the factual history of the
school was lost. However, an old history of the township states
that in 1858, there were two schools in the township and undoubtedly
one was in the west part. The first school was located about 30
rods from the river about where Route 30 now crosses Rock River.
An old atlas of 1877, shows that by that time the school house had
been moved to its present location on the corner of the Prophets-
town Road and Mitchell Street. It was surrounded by land owned by
various members of theSturtevant family and perhaps the land was
donated by them for a school. Miss Emma Sturtevant is known to
have been one of the first teachers. Josie Barrett Sensenbaugh and
Effie Chapin Gaulrapp also are among the early teachers.
The first expansion of the school consisted of raising it and put-
ting a basement under it. But it remained just a one-room school
until the late 1940 's. A new addition was added in 1948 and the en-
rollment increased from 7 to 77 in the years from 1949 to 1956 when
theAUen subdivision was opened. Since that time, eight more class
rooms and an all purpose room have been added.
Mrs. Clarence (Beulah) Allen taught the school from 1928 to
1942, believed to be the longest tenure thus far.
In the year 1967, there are 199 pupils and 9 teachers. Delbert
O. Dortch is the principal.
A new addition to our school community, in this our centennial
year, is the Sauk Valley College. It is a two year Junior College
and is located on the banks of the Rock River, midway between
Dixon and Sterling. The 150 acre campus site cost $150,000. The
college is being operated in a200by 218 foot one-story metal build-
ing at the present time. The permanent buildings, when built, will
be along the river frontage.
Voters in the college district, of which Rock Falls and Coloma
Township are a part, approved a $3, 975, 000 bond referendum by a
four to one margin February 26, 1966, as the districts share of
the building cost.
Sauk Valley College was converted from a cornfield into an
operating campus in a five-month period of time, with the first
classes started in September of 1966.
When the second year of the college starts in September 1967,
it will add an extensive vocational and industrial division. These
classes will be held in rented facilities in Rock Falls, which were
a part of the old Geyer Manufacturing Company.
The college district is comprised of high school districts of
Sterling, Rock Falls, Morrison, Amboy, Tampico, Dixon, Pro-
phetstown, Polo, Ohio, Walnut and part of Franklin Grove.
The beautiful site, which many people thought was too expensive,
will keep a good portion of our beautiful Rock River land in the pub-
lic domain, at a time when so much of our river front is being
privately developed and forever lost to the people of the community.
The President of Sauk Valley College is Dr. Edward Sabol.
Another addition to our towns educational facilities is the White-
side Area Vocational Center which will open for classes in Septem-
ber of 1967. It is being built on the campus of Sterling Township
High School, but will be for all students of Whiteside County whose
high school districts are participating.
Before a city can make any progress, it must have organization,
not only politically, but socially also. The people of Rock Falls en-
joy taking an active part in their city by joining one or more of the
numerous clubs in existence. These organizations, clubs, or chap-
ters, not only benefit those who belong to them, but also aid many
other citizens by giving to various civic funds, taking projects upon
themselves that improve the community and offering individual
awards to those members of the community who are deserving.
Through the work of such groups, the poor have happy holidays, the
intelligent student receives a scholarship, or the city takes an ac-
tive part in national drives. We owe much to the following groups.
Without them, our city couldn't have progressed as far as it has,
and with their help, will move on into the future.
ROCK FALLS ROYAL NEIGHBORS
The Rock Falls Royal Neighbors were organized at a meeting
called by J.B. Kearns on December 21, 1894, in the Hall of the
Modern Woodman of America. J.W. White was appointed Secretary
for the evening.
The petition for the Charter was read and the following names
were read: J.W. White, A.C. Stanley, E.E. Horner, Ella Horner,
T.E. Irwin, J.V. McCarty, Mary McCarty, Samuel Grosse, Eur-
ella Grosse, G.F. Moulton, Ida Moulton, Ira G. Berry, Henry Hein,
Carrie Hein, J.K. Williams, Alice Eiteman, Anna McFalls, Mar-
garet Kadel, Cynthia Lyle, Mrs. August Beck, Dr. H.M. Rauch,
Dr. Ella Franc Merrill. The charter fee was $1.50.
The obligation was administered and an election was held. Those
holding office for the new camp were: Oracle Mary McCarty, Past
Oracle Cynthia Lyle, Vice-Oracle Margaret Kadel, Recorder Ella
Horner, Receiver Alice Eiteman, Chancellor Lucy Williams, Mar-
shall Anna McFalls, Inner Sentinel Carrie Hein, Board of Managers
Cynthia Lyle, Dr. Ella Franc Morrill, Lucy Williams, Dr. H.M.
Rauch and Dr. E. Franc Morrill. Dr. Morrill was elected camp
The camp name selected was "Holly" and the first three candi-
dates to be initiated were: Lucinda Kadel, Annie McIUmoyl, and
Holly Camp has grown from 23 fraternal charter members to a
membership of 242. At present $261,845 worth of insurance is
carried. Fifty year pins have been given to 11 members in the past
three years .
The camp has held many activities over the years, including
socials and basket suppers. A Juvenile Camp was chartered in
October 1926. Marie Adair was the juvenile director and her daugh-
ter, Ramona Russell was the first Oracle.
In 1935, all possessions were destroyed when tire burned the
McNeil Hall, located at 221-1/2 W. 2nd Street. After the building
was remodeled, they continued in that location until 1938, then mov-
ing to the Sterling I.O.O.F. Temple.
The Holly Camp assists members in sickness and bereavement,
makes donations to the Help to Hear Fund, Cancer Fund, Red Cross
and to community projects. Present officers are: Oracle Joyce
Warehime, Past Oracle Elva Crabb, Vice Oracle Delia Deets,
Chancellor Irene Taylor, Recorder Mabel Lutyens, Receiver Marie
Adair, Marshal Bernice Wallace, Ass't. Marshal Albina Zivney,
Inner Sentinel Marie Nelson, Outer Sentinel Ida Beck, Faith Mari-
etta Kohl, Courage Marguerite Ryan, Unselfishness Gladys Beck,
Modesty Irene Schick, Endurance Bertha Schueler, Musician Grace
Christensen, Managers Irene Schick, Mildred Southard and Grace
Christensen. Camp Physician Dr. Pohly.
ROCK FALLS ROTARY CLUB
On April 22, 1936, a small group of Rock Falls business men
formed the nucleus of what was to be Rock Falls' first service club,
still in existence. Its organization was made possible by the untiring
efforts of its first president. Gene E. Newburn, agricultural in-
structor from Rock Falls High School and the sponsoring club of
Sterling. On June 12, 1936, "Charter Night" was held with a banquet
at the Sterling Coliseum, attended by approximately 200 Rotarians
and wives, representing most of the 40 clubs of the 40th district.
The charter members were: Gene Newburn, President, agricultural
education extension; William J. Sowles, Vice President, dry goods;
Rev. Reuben M. Furnish, Secretary and Chaplain, Protestantism;
Tracey J. Wylie, Treasurer, drugs; Max Hill, Sergeant-at-arms,
electrical equipment and supplies; Dr. Stephen A. Allen, Physician
and Surgeon; Jacob Cantlin, general law practice; Charles Castle,
refined oil products; Robert Harper, life insurance; John Hurdle,
hardware; Henry Kaup, milk; W. Wilson King, grain farming; Jess
McKinney, grain distributing; Ralph M. Robertson, education high
schools; Isador Rubin, scrap iron and steel; Sam Rubin, civil law
practice; Ellsworth C. Wolf, groceries. It will be noticed that in a
Rotary Club, the membership is formed on the unique plan of having
one active and representative man from each line of business and
profession in the community. Today "Rotary" is a word that stands
for better business practices and loftier ideals in business and pro-
fessional intercourse, for service to one's community, and for the
development of international understanding and peace. The Rock
Falls Rotary Club prospered through the years and grew to the pre-
sent membership of about 50 men. The club celebrated its 25th an-
niversary at Jul's Danish Farm on September 26, 1961 with eight
of the original charter members present: Jacob Cantlin, John Hur-
dle, Henry Kaup, W. Wilson King, Jess McKinney, Isador Rubin,
William Sowles and Ellsworth C. Wolf. At this meeting Jess Mc-
Kinney was recognized for having 25 years of perfect attandance —
either at his own club or another Rotary Club, the latter being ac-
counted as a "make-up". Considering that Rotary Clubs meet every
week, this is an unusual accomplishment and Jess is now an honor-
ary member of the club. The 1966-67 officers are Herman Oltman,
President; Clark Hoot, Vice-President; Frank Reichardt, Secretary;
Glenn Detweiler, Treasurer; John Naylor, Clark Wasson, Orville
Harting, Glenn Coleman, Lorin Dillon and Emery McNeil, Direc-
tors. Clark Hoot will be the Centennial President, holding office
during the 1967-68 Rotary year. The community looks forward to
the annual Rotary "Corn-Boil" which has helped finance the annual
contribution of $1,000 for six years, to the Rock Falls Community-
Youth Building. Other community activities in which Rock Falls
Rotary Club has contributed are: Sponsoring a Little League Base-
ball team and providing their uniforms. High School and Sauk Valley
Scholarships, Christmas gifts for the aged at Whiteside County
Home, Veteran's Memorial Band Shell, Boy's State, Prom-Parents,
United Church Women Thanksgiving Fellowship, Retarded Children
Bus Fund, Self-Help Enterprises, Community Chest, trash cans in
the business district to help keep our city clean and Rock Falls
As Rock Falls moves on into the future, the Rock Falls Rotary
Club will be helping taking its part in any of the activities, where
it is needed.
ROCK FALLS WOMAN'S CLUB
The Rock Falls Woman's Club was organized in 1911 with Mrs.
Francis K. Andrews the first president. The Rock Falls Club is a
member of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs and also of the
General Federation of Women's Clubs which is the largest women's
organization in the world.
This is a service club which does a great deal of work locally
as well as supporting projects of the Federation. Some of the ser-
vices provided locally are scholarships for music, conservation,
art and nursing. Donations for Community Chest, American Cancer,
United Church Women, International Fellowship, Self-Help Enter-
prises, Cerebral Palsy, picnic for retarded children from Di.xon
State School, Heart Fund and numerous smaller projects are their
yearly activities. Money is also sent for the Illinois Cottage for
Girls, Lincoln Lodge at Boys Town of Illinois and Care. Many of
the club members do other volunteer work in the community.
In 1961, the Rock Falls Woman's Club celebrated their 50th
anniversary and many lovely programs, teas and luncheons were
presented during the year. Mrs. James Sensenbaugh was the only
living charter member at that time. She passed away September 1,
1966. Many past presidents and members of previous years attended
the anniversary program presented in April 1961.
The garden department of the Rock Falls Woman's Club was
organized by Mrs. Nettie Llbby. At her death, the Woman's Club
and the garden department shared in her estate. By using the inter-
est, they have been able to provide many things in the community.
Other departments of the Woman's Club are Public Affairs,
Home Life, International Affairs, Fine Arts and Education.
The Woman's Club meetings are the second Tuesday each month
with the garden department meeting the third Tuesday and the other
combined department meetings the fourth Tuesday.
The club president for the year 1966-67 is Mrs. Wm. Montgom-
ROCK FALLS AMERICAN LEGION POST #902
September 6, 1945, a temporary charter was granted to the Rock
Falls American Legion Post #902. This was secured by James
Burke, Earl Wolfe and Fred Alexander. The permanent charter was
granted in 1947.
The first installation of officers in 1945 was held in the Odd
Fellows hall in Rock Falls when James Burke was elected as the
first commander of the Legion Post #902.
Meetings were held at various places such as Commander Burke's
garage until cold weather forced them to move to the Masonic
Temple. At this time, it was decided that a permanent building was
needed and ground was purchased at 412 4th Avenue, where the
building was erected in 1946. This was accomplished with the
assistance of private business men and legionaires. In 1956 an ad-
dition was added on to the front which is now the present cement
The officers for 1967 are: Commander Marion Franks; Senior
Vice-Commander John Myers ; Junior Vice-Commander Aaron Knox;
Finance Officer Marion Genkinger; Adjutant James Chapman.
Many community projects are helped by the American Legion-
aires each year. They sponsor a Boy Scout troop and Little League
ball team; send boys to Boys State, give scholarships, recognize
outstanding students in Rock Falls and Newman High Schools, give
to child welfare, contribute to Veterans Rehabilitation, send pack-
ages to Viet Nam and help support a cottage for under-privileged
children at Normal, Illinois.
ADVANCE LODGE #590 I.O.O.F.
The Advance Lodge #590 I.O.O.F. was granted a charter Octo-
ber 13, 1875 and has been active in Rock Falls ever since. Among
the early leaders of the organization were A.C. Stanley, Sol Kern,
C.E. Payson, Theodore P. Lukens and J.H. Montague.
The lodge is a fraternal, non-sectarian, non-partison, non-
political and non-profit organization which does much charitable
work each year. One of the finest accomplishments was the estab-
lishment of the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in 1883, which is located on the
east edge of the city and has been enlarged several times. In 1888,
the members of the lodge met with their wives and daughters and
organized the Rebekah Lodge.
Officers of Lodge#590 forl967are MelvinSchuldt, Noble Grand;
John J. Schick, Vice-Grand; Art Nelson, Secretary; Glenn Detweil-
°r. Treasurer; John T. Schick, Custodian of the Cemetery.
THE KING'S DAUGHTERS AND SONS ORGANIZATION
July 26, 1888, several women met in the home of Miss Kate
Ramsey in North Hume and organized the Good Deed Circle of the
Kings Daughters and Sons Organization. The charter members
were: Mrs. Jane Barrett, Mrs. Leona Wetzel, Mrs. Pantha Schick,
Mrs. Van Sant, Mrs. Almira Brimmer, Ella and Anna Gaulrapp,
May Fluck, Rena Wetzell, Mrs. Luch Ramsey and Elizabeth and
Kate Ramsey. In 1963, they celebrated their 75th anniversary.
From this beginning, other circles have been formed and at the
present time there are seven in Whiteside County with a member-
ship of 105. The active circles are: Good Deed, Good Samaritan,
Golden Purpose, Silver Cross, Loyal, Busy Hand and Good Cheer.
The 1967 County officers for the Kings Daughters are: Mrs. Earl
George, President; Mrs. Earl Eshleman, Vice-President; Mrs.
Lawrence Wesner, 2nd Vice-President; Mrs. Tom Zeigler, Secre-
tary and Mrs. M.R. Kimmel, Treasurer.
The Kings Daughters and Sons are an International organization
which does considerable philanthropic work.
ROCK FALLS LODGE #936 A.F. & A.M.
The Grand Lodge granted a charter October 11, 1911 and Rock
Falls Lodge #936 came into being with leadership under the first
Worshipful Master Fred H. Geyer, Senior Warden L.P. McMillen,
Junior Warden E.O. Phares. Lee L. Emmons of Jim Falls, Wis-
consin is the only living charter member.
The first lodge hall was located in the Trager building located at
the corner of First Avenue and E. Second Street for fifty-one years.
Since 1962, the lodge hall has been in the former International Har-
vester building at 201 W. First Street after the organization pur-
chased and renovated the building.
The lodge is a fraternal organization for men who are worthy
to become members by petition for fellowship. Free Masonry is an
organization of men believing in the fatherhood of God and the broth-
erhood of man, using builders tools as symbols to teach basic moral
truths, thereby impressing upon the minds of its members the car-
dinal virtues of brotherly love, relief and truth which they should
apply to everyday activities . Man does not live by bread alone, but
has need for the old fashioned virtues.
The lodge has many worthwhile projects and helps maintain the
children's home at LaGrange, the old folks home at Sullivan and
numerous Masonic hospitals throughout the state.
Officers for 1967 are: Worshipful Master Victor Hart, Senior
Warden Willard Baldwin, Junior Warden Harry Smith, Treasurer
Elmer McNinch, Secretary Wilbur McNinch, Senior Deacon Wm.
Wolber, Junior Deacon Virgil Jennings, Senior Stewart Arthur
Folkers, Junior Stewart Everett Poff, Tyler James Mathis, Mar-
shall Darrell Stevens and Chaplain Winifred Baker.
ROCK FALLS CHAPTER #706 OES
The Rock Falls Chapter of the Eastern Star was organized late
in 1911 and was granted a charter by the Grand Chapter of Illinois
on January 26, 1912. The first officers of the organization were:
Anna Jensen, Worthy Matron; T.J. Wylie, Worthy Patron; Belle
Woodward, Associate Matron; Lura Trager, Secretary and Lulu
Gever, Treasurer. Other officers included Nellie Stone, Bertha
Wylie, Marion Leydig, Mary Limerick, Amanda Taylor, Florence
Stanley, Frances Andrews, Agnes Allen, E.U. Taylor and Emma
Murray. Mrs. Bertha Wylie is the only living charter member. The
majority of the Deputy Grand Officers for instituting the Rock Falls
Chapter were members of the Sterling Chapter.
The chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary in September of 1962
at Past Officer's Night. At this meeting Clara Ashling and Elmer
Leusby served as Worth\- Matron and Worth\- Patron.
Officers for 1967 are: Margaret Truedson, Worthy Matron;
Kenneth Truedson, Worthy Patron; Vera Sayers, AssociateMatron;
Earl Sayers, Associate Patron; Marion Smith, Secretary andRuby
Morrow, Treasurer. Other officers are: Ruth Carter, Lunda Smith,
Minerva Hagberg; Catheryn Ebenezer, Betty Pratt, Bess Schoat,
Ollie Lowrie, Olive Scheider, Vera Brainerd, Lou Ettinger, Elea-
nor Smith, Harry Smith and Mildred Smith.
The Past Matrons Club of the Chapter was organized in 1958,
meeting four times a year in the homes of the Past Matrons. The
chapter members also enjoy the social meetings of its Social Club
which meets each month.
P. E.O. CHAPTER CC
Chapter CC of the P. E.O. Sisterhood was organized in Rock
Falls, January 9, 1926. The charter members were: Francis E.
Potter. Helen L. Church, Bertha M. Yackel, Sara H. Vanbil, Merle
Colder, Norma Riehl, Laura Scott, Theo H. Bristol, Virginia Ka-
del, Claribel Stephenson, Lois Dimmiett and Irene Ranch.
The local chapter is a member of an international organization
whose purposes are educational and charitable.
Through the Sisterhood, Chapter CC aids in the support of a re-
volving educational fund which has aided almost 14,000 women in
completing their education. An International Peace Scholarships
program enables students from foreign countries to complete their
education in the United States.
Cottey Junior College at Nevada, Mo. has been owned and sup-
ported by tlje Sisterhood since 1927, and the Illinois Chapter owns
and maintains a P.E.O. Home in Knoxville, Illinois.
The 1966-67 officers are: Pauline Howe, President; IVlary Baker,
Vice-President; Vella Fadden, Rec. Secretary; Dorothy Winkler,
Cor. Secretary; Sue Brown, Treasurer; Ruth Walton, Chaplain and
Helen Manges, Guard.
FRATERNAL ORDER OF EAGLES AUXILIARY
The FraternalOrder of Eagles Auxiliary was instituted inMarch
1950 and just recently celebrated its 17th anniversary. Mrs. Myrtle
Massingill Knaple was the first Mdm. President and charter mem-
ber. Janet Fairbanks, now deceased, was the first Junior Past
Mdm. President. The auxiliary was instituted with fifty-one charter
The members of the auxiliary donate to many worthwhile pro-
jects such as Cancer Foundation, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystro-
ph\ and their own Memorial Foundation, which provides funds for
needs of fatherless children across the country. Projects through-
out the year provide funds to help the needy at Christmas time and
gifts for the men and women at Whiteside County Nursing Home.
The officers for 1967 are: Mdm. President Mrs. R.D. (Lucille)
Dale; Vice-President Mrs. Chester (Margaret) Holsington; Secre-
tary Mrs. J.S. (Bernice) Pence and Treasurer Mrs. Clifford
ROCK FALLS EAGLES
The Eagles Lodge, Aerie 2783 was organized March 7, 1948.
Louis J. Pignatelli was the first president. The Eagles own their
own club rooms, located at 321 West 2nd Street, Rock Falls.
Among the projects which are supported by the Eagles are the
"Max Baer Heart Fund", and the Damon Runyan Cancer Fund, to
which the organization of Eagles has been one of the largest contri-
butors. They have an educational workshop for foreign countries,
support the Father Cassidy"Home on the Range" for boys and have
a retirement village known as "Eagle Village" atBradenton, Florida.
At the local level. Eagles support the community with donations
to the Community-Youth Building and help with any civic project in
which they are needed.
The president for the 1967-68 year is John Waisner.
This past season the Rock Falls Eagles have been host to the
Illinois State Bowling Tournament, which brought some 27 bowling
teams to our community.
THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY UNIT 902
The Rock Falls American Legion Auxiliary Unit #902 was chart-
ered as an Auxiliary Unit to the Rock Falls American Legion Post
on January 24th, 1946. There were 24 members on the original
charter. Rock Falls Unit 902 is located in Whiteside County of the
13th District and the 2nd Division of the State of Illinois American
Legion Auxiliary. The first Unit president was Mrs. Merle C. Wolf,
who. served as president of the charter year of 1946. She was re-
elected to serve in 1947 and 1951. Mrs. Wolf and other ladies of
the community saw a need after World War II for an auxiliary unit
in Rock Falls and therefore set out to charter a unit through the De-
partment of Illinois and the National American Legion Auxiliary
Organization. The unit is made up of a senior membership and
a junior membership. Junior members are those signed into
membership from birth to 18 years of age. Elective officers of the
Unit are president, first vice-president, 2nd vice president, treas-
urer, chaplain, historian and sergeant-at-arms, with the appoint-
ment of a secretary, assistant sergeant-at-arms and chairman of
The Unit was formed for the purpose of aiding the American
Legion in carrying out the great programs to which the American
Legion is dedicated, plus special programs carried out to aid the
community, state and nation. One of the main projects of the Amer-
ican Legion Auxiliary is the great task of caring for the disabled
Veterans of the Wars who are hospitalized and assisting them to
regain their place in life, through the rehabilitation programs. The
major projects of an auxiliary unit to which Rock Falls Unit 902
works towards are Americanism, Child Welfare, Civil Defense,
Emergency Planning, Community Service, Education and Scholar-
ships, Foreign Relations, Girls State, Junior Activities, Legisla-
tive, National Security, Poppy Sales and Rehabilitation Program.
The officers for 1967 are: President Mrs. Wm. Mills (Alice);
1st Vice-President Mrs. Marvin (Marilyn) Beck; 2nd Vice-Presi-
dent Mrs. Quintcn (Arietta) Harms; Secretary Mrs. Willis (Jean)
Ahrens; Treasurer Mrs. Walter (Dolores) Hoerle; Chaplain Mrs.
Donald (Maxine) Geiger; Historian Mrs. Marion (Barbara) Franks;
Sergeant-at-arms Mrs. John (Doris) Olson. The 13th District His-
torian Mrs. Lee F. Wolfe, is also from Rock Falls.
JOHN H. MONTAGUE REBEKAH LODGE NO. 202
A number of the members of Advance Lodge No. 590 of the In-
dependent Order of Odd Fellows of Rock Falls, met with their wives
and daughters on February 13, 1888, to receive the Rebekah Degree.
Brother B. Gurtizen conferred the Degree on Brothers Warren
Cole, John A. Rae, E.W. Slater, John Isherwood, H.P. Price,
J.D. Montague and on Mrs. Ellen Burdick, Mrs. Nettie Cole, Mrs.
Lizzie Rae, Mrs. Ella Slater, MissM.F. Price, Mrs. Mary Ish-
erwood and Mrs. Whitney.
A charter was granted February 27, 1888. Mr. Charles Bent of
Morrison, instituted the lodge with assistance of members from
Morrison and Sterling.
Grand Noble Mrs. Nettie Cole, Vice Grand Mrs. Belle Worman,
Recording Secretary Mrs. Lizzie Rae, Financial Secretary Mrs.
Mary Isherwood, Treasurer Mrs. Ellen Burdick.
The lodge meets the second and fourth Monday nights of each
month. The Rebekah Lodge is a fraternal order and like the Advance
Lodge, is non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-political and non-profit.
It follows the teachings of Friendship, Love and Truth. The Lodge
helps support Old Folks Home, Children's Homes, Odd Fellows,
World Eye Bank and Visual Research Foundation. They participate
in the United Nation Pilgrimage for Youth Tours, when students
from every state of the United States and Canada spend one week in
New York studying the United Nations.
Locally they support the community fund drives and local pro-
jects such as Red Cross, Heart'Fund, Cancer, etc.
The 1967 officers are: Grand Noble Mrs. John Sprankle, Vice-
Grand Mrs. Helen Willhite, Recording Secretary Mrs. Troy Baker,
Financial Secretary Mrs. Harry Insley and Treasurer Mrs. Glenn
Girl Scouting has a thirty year history in Rock Falls, beginning
in 1936 when Miss Elizabeth Hamilton and Miss Isabel Johnston or-
ganized an Intermediate troop at Merrill School.
In 1943, Mrs. M.L. Skelton (Dee) started a Brownie Troop at
Thome School for girls ages 7 to 10 years. She was assisted by
Mrs. Floyd Humphrey (Harriet) and later by Mrs. Harvey Engle-
hardt (Rose). By 1945, several other Brownie Troops were organ-
ized and another Intermediate troop.
With the growth of scouting in Rock Falls, it was deemed neces-
sary to have a Rock Falls Council. This was formed in 1946. Mrs.
M.L. Skelton was the first president; Werdell Clark, Vice-Presi-
dent; Samuel Rubin, Finance Chairman; Mrs. F.F. (Fern) Morri-
son, Secretary; Otis J. Humphrey, Treasurer. Elmer Leusby was
organization chairman; Mrs. Mervin (Marian) McNinch, Program
Chairman; Clare Hayward, Registrar; Jack Adair, Publicity; Mrs.
James Kelsey (Claretta), Chairman of the nominating committee.
The first Day Camp was held in 1945 at Sinnissippi Park, when
the Rock Falls Council joined with the Sterling Council and hired
Mrs. Caretta Younglove of Clinton as the camp director.
In 1947, the Rock Falls Girl Scouts invited Tampico Scouts to
join them in camping on the Glenn Schutt farm. Mrs. Leo Nelson
and Mrs. Vernie Anderson of Rockford were the directors.
Following this, the Council rented the Sterling Scout Camp for
several years. They also did camping at Sinnissippi Park, several
Many community projects were sponsored by the troops. Trees
were planted at Nims Park near the canal. In 1947 and 1948, they
conducted many drives to collect grease to help relieve the soap
shortage. Many waste paper collections were held. The money de-
rived from these projects was divided among the troops. The Inter-
mediate troops sold oranges as a community activity, with the
money being contributed to the March of Dimes campaign.
The troops have delivered Cancer posters, sold TB seals, pre-
sented Christmas wreaths to various churches and sang carols
around the community Christmas tree. They have sold Girl Scout
cookies and calendars to make money for their own troop. At the
present time, some are doing community work at the hospital once
a month. Their activities have traditionally been numerous over
the years .
The girls entertained their fathers at Father -Daughter banquets
and later were hostesses to their mothers at teas.
In 1963, the Rock Falls Girl Scouts disbanded their Council and
joined the Green Hills Council of Girl Scouts, Inc. They are now in
the Singing Meadows Neighborhood, which includes Rock Falls and
ROCK FALLS BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
In 19i5, a group of interested, future-looking men, organized
into a group known as the Rock Falls Business Association. It was
felt that an organization of this kind was needed for the purpose of
gaining community spirit in Rock Falls.
The first regular meeting was held in January with Otis Humph-
rey being elected President. Joe Sullivan, Vice-President; Henry
Kaup, Secretary, N.L. Mowrer, Treasurer. Directors elected
were: Jack Adair, W.J. Sowles, Al Hoffmiller, Fay Overley, Wil-
liam Hines, Ma.x Hill and Leonard Gartner.
One of the first needs of the community they felt, was to get a
bank started in Rock Falls. They lost no time in getting this pro-
ject going and November 25, 1945, the National Bank opened in
In April of 1946, the first Rock Falls Business Association
Minstrel Show was held at the Merrill School. This began an annual
event for the next ten years, with the proceeds of these shows be-
ing put into a special building fund. This fund formed the nucleus
for the Community Youth Building which was dedicated in April of
In August of 1946, the Business Association was instrumental in
backing the Rock Falls Township High School Board in obtaining the
piece of property which is now known as "Hinders Field", and used
as the High School Athletic Field. This property belonging to the
Barrets was procured knowing it was to be used for a Civic Pur-
pose, therefore they were willing to sell to the High School Board.
The Business Association paid for laying out the plans for the field.
Other plans that were laid by this group, however, not completed
by them, but which have been completed since their time, includes
the Whiteside County Airport south of Rock Falls.
The purchasing of a piece of property on Eighth Avenue, which
was used for a time for a park, and later deeded to the city of Rock
Falls so the deeds could be sent to Springfield, showing Rock Falls
had a piece of property on which to build the Illinois National Guard
Armory which is now on this piece of land.
The Business Association during its existance, started a Civic
Fund in Rock Falls which provided funds for the Boy Scouts, Girl
Scouts, Good Fellows, Youth Council and Community Building. The
Civic Fund was later joined with the Community Chest Program and
is today part of the Community Chest with portions of the funds
coming to the Rock Falls side of the river.
A Youth Council was formed in 1946, which worked with the
grade and high school students at that time. Part of the activities of
the Youth Council were hobby clubs and teen-dances which were
held in the Rock Falls American Legion Home. The Youth Council
continued to direct youth activities in Rock Falls, sponsoring Senior
High School Banquets, Parades, May Pole Dances, etc., until
The work of the Youth Council since has been taken over by
Orvel Howard and the Illinois Youth Commission.
The Rock Falls Business Association, members incorporated
into the membership of the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce, and
the Chamber, now has become the head of the community's active
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
In 1956, the Rock Falls Business Association ceased to function
and a group of 26business men met in the basement of a local bus-
iness for the purpose of organizing a Rock Falls Chamber of Com-
On September 18, 1956, the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce
was incorporated and also on that date received its charter from
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The first Chamber office was located iij the Illinois Kitchen
Center, located at 813 First Avenue, operated by Mr. F.F. Mor-
rison. Mrs. Fern Morrison was appointed as part time secretary.
After several years in this location, the Illinois Kitchen Center
moved to 217 First Avenue and the Chamber moved with it.
On September 1, 1962, Mrs. Morrison resigned and at that time
the organization had grown to 100 paying members.
On September 1, 1962, Mr. Lewis J. Walker was hired as the
first full time Chamber of Commerce executive, and the office was
moved to new quarters over theS & K Clothing Store. During these
past six years, the Chamber of Commerce has operated with the
Rock Falls name on the Sterling Chamber of Commerce organiza-
tion. On April 1, 1963, the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce came
into its own by securing the removal of their name from the Sterl-
From 1962 through 1966, the Chamber of Commerce has con-
tinued to grow to 200 members. It has now moved into modern up-
to-date quarters in the Community-Youth Building in the city. The
growth of the Rock Falls Chamber has been slow, but on solid
ground. It will be working for Rock Falls in the future.
The jiistory of the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce would not
be complete without the names of the past presidents. They are:
Dwaine Tompkins, 1956-1957; Robert Deitz, 1957-1958; Lowell
Wechsler, 1958-1959; Dr. Donald Wilkin, 1959-1960; F.F. Morri-
son, 1960-1961; Donald Allen, 1961-1962; Orville Thome, 1962-
1963; Wm. Nordstrom, 1963-1964; Robert Wilkens, 1964-1965;
Arlyn Lawrence, 1965-1966; Robert Stetson, 1966-1967.
The officers of the Chamber for 1967-1968 are: Edward Klocke,
President; Rev. E.A. Henrichs, Vice-President; Robert Colborn,
Treasurer; Robert Stetson; Ray Moulton; Orville Thome; Robert
Wilkens; Kenneth Wike; Wm. Wadelton; Wayne Beelendorf; Arthur
Johnson; Henry Hoffman ;Quinten Harms; Lewis J. Walker, Execu-
tive Director; Irene Taylor, Office Secretary.
The Lions Club was organized in Rock Falls May 18, 1957 with
Donald Blodgett as the first president.
The principal object of the Lions Club is "form a group of dedi-
cated men who enjoy fellowship, with their main purpose to help
the blind and those with sight defects".
The local club has purchased glasses for those less fortunate
than themselves. They have provided dogs for training at the Leader
Dog School for the blind in Rochester.
They have donated to the Hadley School for the blind in Winnetka,
Illinois. Through the use of these donations, they can send corres-
pondence courses to the blind all over the world.
The Lions Club participates in community and civic betterment.
They have donated to the Community- Youth Building, provided pic-
nic benches for the local parks. This past year, they have purchased
bright orange safety jackets for the school patrol children at Dillon
They provided a lecturn for the recreation room at Garden Circle
Homes. They have sponsored three teenage shows, which were
geared to bring entertainment to the city the young people would
enjoy. They are in the process of making a donation to the city at
With only sixteen members in the club, they are doing a great
deal for the community and they in return, are getting a great deal
of satisfaction from this work.
OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF EVENTS
FRIDAY & SATURDAY, JULY 28 - 29
"OLD-FASHIONED BARGAIN DAYS"
SATURDAY, JULY 29
Crowning of Centennial Queen
Sammy Koye Orchestra
Forrest Tabor Gymnasium
SUNDAY, JULY 30
"RELIGIOUS HERITAGE DAY"
Morning Worship Service at all churches
Noon - Homecoming Picnics and Church Open House
1:30 - Antique Cor Parade, begins at Disco Food
3:00 - Water Fight, FireDept., Municipal Center Parking Lot
4:00 - Family Bike Tour of Rock Falls
4:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue "World's Longest Hunting Trip",
Basement Community Building
8:00 - Combined Church Choirs, Interdenominational Religious
Service. Speaker. Hinder's Memorial Field
MONDAY, JULY 31
"PIONEER AND HOMECOMING DAY"
Exhibits (Daily) Historical Museum, Art Exhibit I.O.O.F. Hall
Hospitality Center - Community Building (Daily)
Conservation Show - Old City Hall Parking Lot (Doily)
Sow Mill - Threshing Machine - Baler
(Threshing every hour on the hour - Daily)
9:00 - Centennial Opening Salvo Aerial Bombs, Blowing of Whistles,
Ringing Church Bells, etc.
9:15 - Opening Ceremonies at Veteran's Memorial Park
10:00 - Hospitality CenterwelcomesSr. Citizens &Former Residents
11:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue in Basement Community BIdg.
12:00 - Mayor's Reception and Luncheon for visiting Dignitaries,
Rock Falls Community Building
1:00 - Opening of Mid-Way and Rides, 12th Ave. Show Grounds
Opening Children's Concessions, Old City Hall Parking Lot
1:30 - Parade - Floats, Bonds, Dignitaries
7:30 - Horse Shoe Tournament at Lawrence Pork
8:30-11 Street Dance, Rock Falls Notional Bank Parking Lot
TUESDAY, AUGUST 1
Historical Museum, Art Exhibit, Hospitality Center, Conservation
Show, Old and New Form Equipment Display at Urban Renewal Ground
Saw Mi 1 1 -Threshing Machine - Baler (Threshing every hour on the hour) .
9:00 - Open House and Tour of Community Building
1 1:00 - Dedication of New Terminal Building for Whiteside County
12:00 - Governor's Luncheon at Community Building
Service Clubs Open House - Eagles - Legion
1:30 - Governor's Parade
2:30 - Governor receives Pony Express
4:00 - Municipal Bond Concert at Veterans Memorial Park
4:00 - Service Club Contests (to be announced)
4:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue in Basement Community BIdg.
8:00 - Barbershoppers at Hinder's Field
8:30 - Premier performance "Spanning a Century"
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2
Historical Museum, Art Exhibit, Hospitality Center, Conservation
Show, Old and New Form Equipment Display. Saw Mill - Threshing
Machine - Baler.
7 to 9:30 White Collar Girls Breakfast in American Legion Hall
10:30 - Costume Contest at Jr. High School Gym
10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. - Floral, Croft and Hobby Display at Community
11:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue in Community BIdg.
11:30 - Ladies Luncheon in Methodist Church
1:00 - Birthday Coke at Bank Parking Lot
1:30 - Parade of Belles
3:00 - Style Show and Old-Fashion Tea, at Vet. Memorial Park
4:30 - Promenade to downtown
8:30 - Sweet Adelines at Hinder's Field
8:30 - Spectacular "Spanning a Century" - Fireworks
THURSDAY, AUGUST 3
"AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY"
Historical Museum, Art Exhibit, Hospitolity Center, Conservation
Show, Old and New Farm Equipment Display. Saw Mill - Threshing
Machine - Baler.
Plant Visitations 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Information at DeKalb Feeds
10:00 - Agriculture Display at Urban Renewal Ground
12:00 - Executive Luncheon Agriculture and Industry Community BIdg.
1:30 - Mile Long Parade of Machinery
4:00 - Bicycle Race at Wallingford Pork
4:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue, Community Building
8:00 - Barbershoppers at Hinder's Field
8:30 - Spectacular "Spanning a Century" - Fireworks
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4
"SALUTE TO YOUTH"
Historical Museum, Art Exhibit, Hospitality Center, Conservation
Show, Old and New Farm Equipment Display. Saw Mill - Threshing
Machine - Baler.
9:00 - Softball Gomes at Dillon, Wallingford and Optimist Pork and
Rock Falls High School
10:00 - Baby Contest at Community Building
1:30 - Youth Porode beginning at 3rd Ave. and W. 2nd St. past
reviewing stand to Veteran's Memorial Park
2:30 - Field and Sport Events at the Parks
3:30-5 Hot Rod Rally - Driver's Skill Test at Rock Falls High School
4:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue - Community Building
00-1 1 Square Dance at Armory
00-12 Teen Age Dance at Municipal Center Parking Lot
00 - Barbershoppers at Hinder's Field
30 - Spectacular "Spanning a Century" - Fireworks
SATURDAY, AUGUST 5
"VETERANS, ARMED FORCES AND FRATERNAL DAY"
Historical Museum, Art Exhibit, Hospitality Center, Conservation
Show, Old and New Farm Equipment Display. Sow Mill - Threshing
Machine - Baler.
9:00 - First Aid Exhibit at Veteran's Memorial Park
9:00 - Military Displays and Exhibits
10:00 - Row Boat Race on Conol
10:30 - Award to Oldest man and woman with continuous residence in
Rock Falls and award to former resident coming the longest
distance. Community Building
1 1:00 - Time Capsule to be buried at Riverside Pork
Unveiling of Lions Memorial
12:00 - Veteran and Fraternal Luncheon at American Legion
1:30 - Gigantic Parade. Floats - Bonds, etc.
4:00 - Ralph Thome Travelogue in Community Building
4:30 - Presenting Awards at Reviewing Stand
6:00 - Beard Elimination at Hinder's Field
7:45 - Beard Judging and Brothers of Brush "Shave-Off"
8:30 - Spectacular "Spanning a Century" - Fireworks
Mid-Way Shows and Children's Concessions open every
afternoon and evening.
Parade Route Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
Beginning at Industrial Park or on E. 11th Street, down First Avenue
to West 2nd Street to the High School .
Children's Parade starts at 3rd Ave. and W. 2nd St. to Veteran's
OFFICERS AND CHAIRMEN
THE ROCK FALLS CENTENNIAL, INC.
President and Active Chairman Orville Thome
Vice President Mrs. John Sumption
Treasurer Frank Reichardt
Secretary Lewis Walker, Jr. and Irene Taylor, Assistant
Headquarters Chairman Frank Stephenson
REVENUE DIVISION - Randle Weflin
Historical Program - Mrs. Wm. Montgomery
Novelties - Dale Humphrey
Celebration Ball - Susan Miniel & Dr. E. Orval DeWeerth
Concessions - Calvin Morgan
PARTICIPATION DIVISION - Men, Vernon Williams
Brothers of the Brush - Robert Wllkens
Men's Hats and Ties - Ross Lennox
Promenade and Caravan - Earl Bennett
Kangaroo Court - Tony Arduini
PARTICIPATION DIVISION - Ladies, Mrs. John Sumption
Celebration Belles - Ethel Degnon
Ladies Sunbonnets - Mrs. Wm. Heide
Promenade and Caravan - Mrs. DuWayne Tompkins
Kangaroo Court - Mrs. Glen Wicks
HISTORICAL PROGRAM COMMITTEE
The members of the non-revenue material committee of the Histor-
ical Program were Rev. & Mrs. Donald Ward, Mr. & Mrs. Frank
Reichardt, Werdell Clark, Mervln McNInch, Madeleine Nuttall and
Walter Stlgoll. Others assisting In gathering material, editing and
typing and otherwise preparing for publication were Forrest Gelsinger,
Mrs. Harry Bohms, Mrs. M.L. Skelton, Mrs. Fred Hinrichs, Harry
.Smith, Earl Forehand, Betty Brown, Charles Smith, Mrs. Herbert Roth,
Mr. & Mrs. James Tyne, Ben Jokerst, Joanne Edeus, Wayne Cleveland
and Mrs. Larry Pettenger.
Linus Stephenson was the photographer for new pictures and many
of the old pictures were taken by Fred G. Jurgens and Victor Goodrich.
Thanks are also due to the many people who loaned history books,
scropbooks, pictures and other items of interest for the book.
The Program Advertising Solicitation Chairman was Robert Thome.
The Program Sales Committee Chairman was Ronald Hasselman and
the Joy Cee's.
The Official Centennial Seal and the cover of the historical book-
let were designed by Verna Ward.
The official centennial colors of green and white was the prize
winning suggestion of Mrs. Wm. Heide.
The name for the spectacular "Spanning the Century" was the prize
winning suggestion of Mrs. DuWayne Tompkins.
SPECTACLE TICKET DIVISION - Quinten Harms
Tickets - Gilbert Moothart
Advance Sales - Marcel la Ingold
Nominations - Mrs. Alan Chronlster
Awards - Mrs. Orville Thome
Arrangements - Pauline Howe
Patrons Tickets - Isadore Rubin
Cashier and Gates - Mrs. Donald Finch
Audience Area - Bruce McDonald
SPECTACLE DIVISION - Floyd Corl and Lee Wolfe
Scenario - Mrs. Frank Reichardt
Cost - Morlene Dykeman
Properties - Ralph Fluck
Construction - John Dussler
Costume and Makeup - Mrs. George Billeaux
Grounds - James Henley
PUBLICITY DIVISION - Wm. Saothoff
Press Release - Linus Stephenson
Distributive - Peter Ternetti
SPECIAL EVENTS DIVISION - Henry Bright and Paul Simpson
Merchants Promotion - Al Klocke
Historical Windows and Museum - DuWayne Tompkins
Parades - Marion Franks
Music - Maurice Russell
Pioneer Events - Lester Chapman
Special Days - Mr. & Mrs. Austin Corzett
Hospitality Center - Clare Hayward
Traffic and Safety - Russell Maynard
Transportation - Gene Stewart
Pony Express - Paul Simpson
Beautificatlon - Mrs. Glenn Pohly
There have, of course, been many, many others serving on all the
above named committees. The work of all these 'behind the scenes'
people is most necessary and greatly appreciated. Thanks must go to
all the volunteer helpers at the Centennial Headquarters under the
chairmanship of Mrs. Wm . Heide.
CENTENNIAL COMMITTIES FOR SPECIAL DAYS
Friday & Saturday, July 28 & 29
"Old Fashioned Bargain Days" Chairman - Al Klocke
Sunday, July 30
"Antique Car Parade" Chairman - Kent Detweiler
"Religious Heritage Days" Chairman - Rev. Henrichs
Monday, July 31
"Pioneer and Homecoming Day" ... Chairman - Mr. &Mrs. ByersYeager
Tuesday, August 1
"Governor's Day" Chairman - Bruce Winans
Wednesday, August 2
"Ladies Day" Chairman - Margaret Sumption
Thursday, August 3
"Agriculture Day" Chairman - Royal McCormick
"Industry Day" Chairman - Robert Stetson
Friday, August 4
"Youth Days" Chairman - Bruce McDonald
Saturday, August 5
"Veterans, Armed Forces Day" Chairman - Winifred Baker
Conservation Exhibit Ed Petroshek & Harry Smith
Parade Marshal , Every Day Marion Franks
Centennial Books by
CENTENNIAL BELLES CHAPTERS
CENTENNIAL QUEEN AWARDS
Name of Chapter
Becky Belles (Rebekos)
Belles of St. Andrews
Belles of the Lions
Belies Top Hat
Bonny Belles (Pilot)
Bustles and Bows
Busy Bees (Woman's Club)
Centennial Stars (OES)
Chapel Belles (Congregational
Chatter and Stitch
Christian Belles (Christian Church)
Church Belles (Immanuel Lutheran)
Community Belles (Hospital)
Ding Dong Down Town Belles
Falling Garter Belles
Fancy Garter Queens
Feather Duster Belles
Fire Belles (Insurance)
Gilded Garters (High School)
Happy Humers (Woman's Club)
Hippy Hips (Thome School)
Hustlin Bustles (LDS)
Jr. Litter Bug Patrol Leaders
King's Daughter Belles
Lazy Belles (Woman's Club)
Lu La Belles
Money Bags (Bank)
Pistol Packin Mamas (Legion Aux.)
Rapid City Belles
Royal Belles (Royal Neighbors)
School Belles (Elementary)
Tardy Belles (Merrill)
Wagon Train Belles
Wives of the Wheelers
Ye Town Criers
Mrs. Ed Colville (Joyce)
Mrs. Ivan Baker (Fanny)
Mrs. Chas. VanWassenhove
Mrs. Walter Hoger (Dee)
Mrs. Harold Carolus (Dorothy)
Mrs. Sam Mylin (OIlie)
Mrs. Elmer Janssen (Ethel)
Mrs. Wayne Spencer (Joan)
Mrs. Gordon Rhyne (Darlene)
Mrs. James Eshleman (Helen)
Mr?. Wm. E. Bennett (Violet)
Mrs. Wm. Ebenezer (Catherine)
Mrs. Robert Thome (Judy)
Mrs. McGinn (Joyce)
Mrs. Harold Holcomb (Martha)
Mr^. Edw. O. Cedro (Susie)
Mrs. Lester Pierson (Audri)
Mrs. George Polte (Gertrude)
Mrs. Hubert Aumon (Shirley)
Mrs. Leroy Genz (Betty)
Mrs. Ray Moulton (Roy)
Mrs. Raymond Kulas (Juanna Lee)
Mrs. Don Cole (Shelley)
Mrs. Wm. Wescott (Betty)
Mrs. Larry Chidley (Agnes)
Mrs. Harold Smith (Marion)
Mrs. Ellsworth Wolf, Jr. (Katie)
Mrs. Jack Henson (Eunice)
Mrs. Frank Apple (Moble)
Mrs. Earl George (Minnie)
Mrs. Harold Detweiler (Gen)
Mrs. Clark Hoot (Gen)
Mrs. Barry Tompkins (Marge)
Miss Pauline Howe
Mrs. Dale Humphrey (Carol)
Mrs. Larry Wyatt (Dona)
Mrs. Ken Olson (Lila)
Mrs. Donald Geiger (Maxine)
Mrs. Russel Burger (Joan)
Mrs. Joyce Worehime
Mrs. Dwayne Ettinger (Lucy)
Mrs. Kenneth Schultz (Viola)
Mrs. John Herrin (Joyce)
Mrs. Richard Appenzeller (Betty)
Mrs. Alfred Pace (Vivian)
Mrs. Lyie Bressler (Betty)
Mr?. Otis Humphrey (Lucille)
GRAND PRIZE - Simca 1000 Deluxe Automobile- Honk Bright Motors,
Disco Foods, DeKalb Feeds, Paul Reynolds Citgo
Service, Mills Auto Body, Poci's Tavern.
New York - 3 days, 2 nights - Pepsi Cola Co. ,
Stewart Bev. Co. Distr., Sterling, Morrison Travel
Little Miss Belles
Julie Kay Eshler
Inc., Sterling, TWA, Ozark Ai
rence & Sons, Inc. and Gigs Pi
2 pes. Samsonite Luggage
2 pes. Samsonite Luggage
$25.00 Gift Certificate
$25,00 Gift Certificate
$5.00 Gift Certificate
$5.00 Gift Certificate
Natural Mink Boa
$25.00 Gift Certificate
2 - Transistor Radios
7 Boxes Hose - 1 Peignoir set
$20.00 Gift Certificate
Sarah Coventry Jewelry Set
Necklace & Earring Set
$10.00 Gift Certificate
Shoes & Matching Horxibag
Shorts & Blouse
Shari Bath Set
Transistor Radio and
Hip Huggers & Blouse
$10.00 Savings Account
Sowles, Rock Falls
Bradley's Inc. , Sterling
Deem & Rick, Rock Falls
Scott Store, Sterling
Scott Store, Rock Falls
Rocket Trailer Soles, Rock Falls
Rhomberg Furs, Rockford
Sunray D-X Oil Co., Terre
Linda Thurm, Branch Mgr.,
P &W Supply, Dixon
Stene's Jewelry, Sterling
Schiff Shoes, Sterling
Family Shoe Store, Rock Falls
Wheelocks, Rock Foils
Moultons Drugs, Rock Falls
George Furniture, Sterling
Comera Center, Rock Falls
Harold's Furniture, Rock Falls
Dietz Bros. Paint Store, Rock
Doria Thome, Avon Rep., Rock
S & K Clothing, Rock Falls
Gambles, Rock Falls
Sterling Fashion, Sterling
Yohr Lange Drug Co., Rockford
Bardo Rexall Drug Co., Rock
McKesson Robbins Drug Co. ,
Goodyear Store, Sterling
Daggetts Jewel Box., RockFolls
Allen's TV, Rock Falls
Glory Bee Apparel, Rock Falls
Hurdles Hardware, Rock Falls
Gerdes Jewelry, Sterling
Kurtz Glass, Rock Falls
Rock Falls Savings and Loan
The Centennial Queen Awards Committee was Mrs. Orville Thome,
Chairman; Mrs. Robert Devers, Mr^. Fred Pyse, Jr. and Mr?. Edward
CHARTERS OF BROTHERS OF THE BRUSH
1 Disco Foods
2 Thomeway Lines
3 RF Post Office Emp.
Rock Falls High School
General Dist. Co.
RB&W Shop Workers
Rock Falls Lions Club
RB&W Office Workers
Rock Falls Opt. Club
Rock Falls School
The Fuzzy Fourteen
The Mangy Manes
Uncle Sam's Shagy
The Grizzly Generals
First Ave. Hairy's
Rock Falls American Bushmen
Jr. Boys Litter
RF Rotary Club
Whiskered Wheelers Merle Halgren
Litter Snatchers Eddie Berge
Barnacle Bills Barry Tompkins
All Around Town Kings Donald Cole
St. Andrews Saints Robert Whitebread
Little Boy's Brushes
Brothers of Brush
Larry K. Wyatt
Official Rock Falls Centennial Beverage
drink Diet Pepsi with only
1507 IVest 4th.
Wherever there are girls, there are girl-watchers.
That's why Diet Pepsi-Cola is so popular.
It's the one low-calorie drink that tastes
good enough to be your steady drink. It has
a bright, sparkling taste. Honest-to-Pepsi taste.
That's why its last name is Pepsi-Cola.
Try it. Someone will be watching.
Official Rock Falls Centennial Beverage
©1966, PepsiCo, I
beats any cola cold!
Drink Pepsi cold-the colder the better Pepsi-Cola's taste
was created for the cold.That special Pepsi taste comes
alive in the cold. Drenching, quenching taste that never
gives out before your thirst gives in. Pepsi pours it on
pours it on!
Stswart Beverage Co
1307 West 4th
THE ROCK FALLS CENTENNIAL
THE HISTORICAL SPECTACULAR
"SPANNING A CENTURY"
HINDERS MEMORIAL FIELD
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
A ROGERS COMPANY PRODUCTION
DEPICTING THE HISTORY AND PROGRESS
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
Written, Produced and Directed By
TERRY G. ROWELL
Script Continuity By
BARBARA L, ROWELL
AUGUST 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 1967
I wish to thank and acknowledge, through this Centennial
Booklet, the cooperation given to me by those working on
Centennial Committees and participating in the pageant
"Spanning A Century."
Without your help, we could not have had a 100th Anni-
Hank Bright Motor Sales, for the Official Centennial Car
which has been used by Mr. Terry Rowel I during Centennial
Leonor Mobile Home Sales, managed by Orrin Grove, for
the use of the trailer furnished for nine weeks for Mr.
Rowel I while in Rock Falls.
Designer of the Centennial Seal, Mrs. Verna A. Ward.
THE ROCK FALLS STORY
'^SPANNING A CENTURY"
NARRATORS: Maurice L. Russell, Dale J. Humphrey, P.C. Swonson, Jr.,
Rut-h M. Deem, Shirley Swanson, Judy M. Thome. The Rock River: Fay
Overlay. The Boy: Mark Hinders:
EPISODE ONE - PROLOGUE TO HER MAJESTY
Color Guard: Jock Spencer, Jerry Wolfe, Ted NIcklaus, Kenny Latta. Boy
Scouts: Louis Rodrigues, Kirby Franks, Robert Carter, Steve Van Horn, Don
Auman, Nathan Fry, Jock Von Horn, Roger Van Horn, Tony Fry, Don Chris-
Han, David Yonk, Allen Payne, Andy Paul Miller, Jr. Girls: Linda Jones,
Jenny Nailor, Brendo Jones, Christ! Wimken, Katherlne Boze, Debra Lathrop,
Becky Charleston, HoUy Hummel, Janet Cater, Tammy Wolzfelt, Debbie
Mealor, Jody Gray, Kathy Engel, Michaeleen Thome, Debbie Fiegel, Karen
Hogelstein, Robyne Dawdy, Cathy Church, LuAnne Meenen, Nancy Simester,
Dawn Pyse, Lori Houston, Ellen Ward, Linda Morden, Rhonda Zink, Vicki
Zink, Joyce Itken, Sue Siperly, Beth Nailor, Karen LaFavre, Sandy Word.
EPISODE TWO - I AM ROCK FALLS
Chief Blackhawk: Carl Rodekamp. Isaac Merrill: Howard Larson. Edward
Atkins: Ben Jokerst. Augustus P. Smith: Lawrence Wolber. Circuit Riding
Minister: Larry Wooster. Early Settlers: From Episode V. AnastascioSturtevant:
Mary Arduini. School Children: From Episode VII. Doughboy: John W. Boehm.
The Kid: Kevin Arduini.
Urban Martenson, Mrs. Dale Humphrey, Steven Humphrey, Mr. and Mrs
Harry Olson, Burton Ferguson, Mrs. Vicky Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Bennett
Bert Epps, Marilyn Whitmer, Iris Hermes, Johanna Walker, Mr. and Mr
AdamYoeckel, Mr. and Mrs, Ralph Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Victor V. Hart
Gladys Hermes, Mr. and Mrs. OrviHe Hopkins, George Birdsall, Marcellc
Ingold, Raymond Lattimer. Pioneer Man: Rev. Donald Ward. Pioneer Children
Bill Davis, Frank Pierce, Richard Rieck, Allen Bohms, Todd Lattimer, Bradle)
Pursell, Jeffrey Lattimer, Mark Thome, Tim Lee Shoffner, Craig Tompkins
Kim McBride, Jill Humphrey, Jill Dillon, Jill Johnston, Michaeleen Thome,
Gayle Lynn Shoffner, TonI Poci.
EPISODE SIX - FOR THINE 15 THE KINGDOM
The Minister: Rev. Fred Anderson. The Cross: Mr. and Mrs. Paul Kepner, Mr.
and Mrs. John L. Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Leusby, Mr. and Mrs. Carl E.
Cox, Mr. and Mrs. David Little, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Leuschke, Mrs. Elwyn
Stevens, Mrs. Glenn Detweiler, Mr. and Mrs. Arman Gauirapp, Mr. and Mrs.
Clare Hayward, Mr. and Mrs. Don McNinch, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Weaver,
Mrs. Dorsey Person, Miss Helen Person, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Faulkner,
Mr. and Mrs. Glen Myers, Mr. and Mrs. Clark Hoot, Mrs. Fay Overley, Mrs.
Floyd Corl, Miss Cleora Capp, Mr, and Mrs. Raymond Lair, Mr. and Mrs.
Ralph Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Harker, Mr. and Mrs. Willis Helt, Barbara
Gebhardt, Mrs. Wlllard Hughes, Mrs. John Musselman, Mrs. Maurice Russell,
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Harker, Mrs. John Jackley and other cast members.
EPISODE THREE - THE BOOK OF DESTINY
Sauk and Fox Indians: From Episode IV. Isaac Merrill: Howard Larson. Edward
Atkins: Ben Jokerst. Noah Merrill: Bernard Scudder. Daniel Brooks: Sherman
Whaley. W.W. Durant: Bob Stetson. L.H. Woodworth: Edward Conley. Ar-
temus Worthrngton: Earl Lutyens. Augustus P. Smith: Lawrence Wolber. John
Are/: Edvins Berzins.
EPISODE FOUR - THE LAND OF BLACKHAWK
Chief Blackhawk: Carl Rodekamp, Indian Braves: Chris Allen HInes, David
Deem, Doug Hand, Greg Pro, Tim Cantrell, Lerry Terronez, Carl Rodekamp,
Robby Rodekamp, Tim Kyger, Randy Bell. Indian Squaws: Mmes. Gerald Sik-
kema, J.L. Kelsey, Werdell Clark, Ross Lennox, William G. Helde, Jr.,
Rollin DeSmith, Harry Bohms, Harold Detweiler, Gerald McNItt, Grant Con-
boy, Herman Oltman, Albert Jensen, Roy Adams, M.L. Skelton, Edw, J.
Dietz, Russell Welch, Wm. Montgomery and VI Beelendorf. Indian Children:
Steven Cole, Donnle Cole, Lori Nehrkorn, Debbie Jacobs, Rhonda Rippel,
Renee Rippel, Sue Schumaker, Susan Stoelens. Indian Girl Dancers: Christy
Tompkins, Judy Hart, Melissa Gehrke, Melanie Gehrke, Wynne Pyle, Marsha
Martenson, Sheila Keegan, Cynthia Hayes, Donna Haas, Deborah Haas,
Constance Knowles, Gayla Henderson, Deb Bonner, Becky Cater, Marsha
Graddy, Donna Jacobs, Brenda Blackburn, Claire Ruckdeschel , Barb Part-
ridge, Diann Partridge, Paula Vinson, Diane Wescott, Melissa Thome, Jackie
Henson, Debbie Jones, Pat Naftzger, Indian Princess Dancer: Paula Gawlow-
ski (Sharon Dale Dance Studio).
EPISODE SEVEN - DAWNING OF THE THREE R'S
S,T, Shirley: Werdell Clark. School Girls: Pom Simpson, Karen Dettman,
Amanda Pod, Christine Simpson, Connie Haas, Jeanlne Gebhardt, Sherrie
Clevenger. School Boys: Mark Thome, Mike Pro, Kevin Hummel, Jack Gil-
lette, Tim Boyd, Tom Boyd, Jim King, Jr., Richard Denny, Terry Moore.
EPISODE EIGHT - FLAT BOATS TO RAILROADS
Woman Late for Train: Mrs. Don Jacobs. Her Helper: Tony Poet. Virginia
Reel Dancers: Mr. and Mrs. Llewellyn J, Meenen, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne
Larson, Mr. and Mrs. John Haas, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Denny, Mr. and
Mrs. Don Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence McCord, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry
Downey, Mrs. Palmer Swanson, Jr. , Mrs. Daniel Johnson, Sr. , Mr. and Mrs.
Dick Clifton, Mr. and Mrs. Loren Weckesser, Mr. and Mrs. William Nord-
strom, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Schmitt, Mr. and Mrs. MaurlcePoci, Mr. and Mrs.
Tony J. Pod, Mr. and Mrs. Harold O. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. James Von Hel-
ton, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Koster, Mr. and Mrs. Donald J. Koehler, Mr.
and Mrs. Dale Exner, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Edward
Gale, Mr. William H. Janssen, Mr. and Mrs, Urban Martenson, Mr. and
Mrs. Don Rosengren, Dr. and Mrs. E.O. DeWeerth, LuAnne Meenen, Mr.
and Mrs. Walter Schiipp, Denny Jacobs, Mr, and Mrs. Austin Corzett. Old
Fashioned Children: Rodney Wetzell, Jeff Pope, Michael Saathoff, Rowland
Koster, Jim Behrens, Philip Nusbaum, Michael Weckesser, John Haas, Jr.,
Erie Swanson, Greg Schmitt, Vlckl Schmitt, Debbie Jacobs, Sue Shumoker,
Sheila Keegan, Leah Koster, Sue Leesman, Christine Rosengren, Claire Ruck-
deschel, Dana Weckesser, Carlo Weckesser, Connie Haas, Patricia Rosengren,
Sonja Swanson, TonI Pod.
EPISODE FIVE - AND SO WE BEGAN
Wagon Master: Harold B. Dodd, Jr. Woman Milking Cow: Mrs. Walter Shof-
fner. Women Washing Clothes: Mrs. Lowell Williams, Mrs. LenaWIIIman. Men
with Clothes Line: Raymond Lattimer, Adam Yoeckel. Women Washing Boy:
Boots Cole, Faye Baker. Boy In Tub: Tim Lee Shoffner. Woman with Red Patch:
Mrs. Edward Klocke. Pioneer Boy: Mark Thome. Gramps: Walter Shoffner.
Woman Churning Butter: Mrs. Earl Bennett. Lucy: Mrs. Ethel Degnan. Assis-
tant Cook: Marcella Ingold. Frank Cushing: Jerry A. Adams. Midwife: Betty
Adams. Helpers: Mrs. Catherine Van De Mark, Shirley Dodd, Mary Pod .
Woman Reviver: Mrs. Donald Ward. Accordion Player: Edward Klocke. Fiddle
Player: Lowell Williams. Banjo Player: Jay Baker. Square Dancers: Mr. and
Mrs. Frank J, Reichardt, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shoffner, Mr. and Mrs. Frank
Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Tompkins, Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Arvola, Eloise
Gould, Chuck Cummlngs, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Roth, Mr. and Mrs. Tony
Pod, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley George, Mr. and Mrs. Don Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs.
EPISODE NINE- A VOLUME OF HISTORY BOUND IN BLACK
W.H. Butler: Ralph Clark. Hymn Singing Women: Mrs. Harold Holcomb, Mrs.
Walter Shoffner, Nancy Jean Holcomb, Gayle Lynn Schoffner, Mrs, Glen
Genz, Mrs. Ralph Clark, Mrs. Walter Holcomb. "Deacon Arey": Walter
Shoffner. Traveler: Austin Corzett. Confederate Officer: Lorry Wolf. Union
Officer: Roy Dole Megli, Confederate Soldiers: Gary Lee Scott, Glen Genz,
David Megll, Larry Wolf, Dole Hoyen, Eugene LeFevre, Glen Nelson, Jim
Ryan, Roy Smith, Jim Hayden, Jay King. Union Soldiers: Elvln Schmitt,
Donald Waldschmldt, Roy Dale Megli, Robert Deets, Jim Torrence, LeRoy
Genz, Roy Adams, Ron Ufktn, Orvllle Kuehl, Clarence Bolster, Mike Koeh-
ler, Ross M, Johnson. Bugler: Dale Larson. Mother: Mrs. John Haas. Towns-
people: From previous scene. Lincoln: Orvllle Thome.
********** INTERMISSION **********
EPISODE TEN - THE GOLDEN AGE
Lido Rose: Connie Oberbfllig. Quartet: Ronald Harrington, Fred Tintori, Jack
Renner, Alfred Renner. Picnicers: Mr$. Herman Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. Paul
Hoffmiller, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan G. Wolf. Woman Left Out: Mr^. Leo Nar-
dini . Bicycle Couple: Maurice and Alice Wick. Samuel Frank: Dennis Devers.
Fire Chief: Gale McBride. Firemen: Donald Virtue, John Haas, Lawrence
Wolber, George Birdsall, Roy Dale Megli, Larry Wolf. The Cops: John Hoff-
miller, Rick Nordstrom. Golfer: Dav Thome. A. A. Thome: Gene Reider.
Photographer: Urtan Martenson. Curious Woman: Mrs. Lyie Williamson. Bath-
ing Beauties: Mrs. Tom Clemenz, Mrs. Roy Scrlvner, Mrs. Frank Evons, Mrs.
Charles Rosenberg, Mrs. Allen Chronister, Mrs. Jack Henson, Mrs. Gale
McBride, Mrs. Larry Hart. Winnie Clinkdollor: Mrs. Charles Rosenberry. Life
Guard: Glen Myers. Little Girl: Kim McBride. Medicine Man: Don Jacobs.
Can-Can Girls: Cynthia Jones, Chris Tompkins, Karen Bohms, Cheryl Fullmer,
Janet Hunsberger, Beth Ward. (Sharon Dale Dance Studio). Balloon Woman:
Mrs. Vernon Johnson and Rhonda. Gay 90's Men and Women: Donna Haas,
Debbie Haas, Iris Hermes, Dickie Beene, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reichardt, Mr.
and Mrs. Paul Kepner, Barney Scudder, Frances Bohms, Ellen Tupy, Ron Gys-
son, Mary LaFleur, Bert Epps, George Biller, Robert Donaldson, John Hoff-
miller, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Lair, Mr. and Mrs. George Dudley, Donald
Virtue, A.L. Dudley, Mr. Charles Cummings, Mrs. James Taets, Mrs. Paul
D. Miller, Melissa Thome, Mrs. Vernon Johnson, Bonnie Biller, Wilma
Meiner, Bonnie Cook, Linda Engel, Mrs. Harold Carolus, Mrs. Joyce Herrin,
Mrs. Shirley Morris, Mrs. Kenny Wilson, Mrs. LeRoy Blatz, Mrs. Robert
Donaldson, Mrs. Herman Chapman, Gladys Hermes, Iris Hermes, Bert Epps,
Johnna Walker, Irene Gilman, Eloise Gould, Mr. and Mrs. Urban Marten-
son, Mr. and Mrs. Don Jacobs, Cleora Capp, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Clark.
Horseshoe Player: LyIe Williamson. Croquet Players: Mr. and Mrs. John Jack-
ley. Gay 90's Boys and Girls: Debbie Chapman, Wes Chapman, Barbara Geb-
hardt, Grace Trudo, Susan Nielsen, JillTrudo, Kim McBride, Vivian Mc Broom,
Karen Manning, Michoeleen Thome, Rhonda Johnson, Patty Johnson, Lory
Donaldson, Edward Johnston, Douglas Waldschmidt, Scott Humphrey, Jack
Johnston, Kurt McBride, Mark Thome, Gory Knopp, Raymond Johnson, Robin
Hochstetter, Henry Hochstetter, Brett Hochstetter, Jeanine Gebhardt, Pom
Simpson, Chris Simpson.
EPISODE ELEVEN - THE TURBULENT TEENS
Color Guard: Jack Spencer, Jerry Wolfe, Ted Nicklaus, Kenny Latta. Dough-
boy; John W. Boehm. Lady in Black: Janet Weaver. Those Who Remember:
Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Boehm, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hines, Mr. and Mrs.
Glen Genz, Mr. and Mrs. Clair Freeman, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Kaiser, Eva
Teterick, Milton Teterick, Mrs. John Haas.
EPISODE THIRTEEN - THE LOST GENERATION
Charleston Dancers: Ellen Browne, Janice Gehrke, Sue McDonald, Jackie
Henson, Debbie Knuth, Joan Eshleman, Doug Hand, David Deem, Mark Rig-
gins, Chris Hines, David Billeoux, Bill Clark. Car Drivers: Floyd Corl, Kent
EPISODE FOURTEEN - THE DARK YEARS
W.P.A. Workers: Rev. Fred Anderson, Werdell Clark, Herman H. Oltman,
Clark Hoot, Paul Weaver, C.K. Hayward, Frank J. Reichardt, Emery McNeil,
Arman Gaulrapp, Edward Klocke, Orville Harting, Al Hoffmiller, Rev. Don
Ward, Ronald Hartshorn.
EPISODE FIFTEEN - SIEGE FOR FREEDOM
Mother: Mrs. John Haas. Father: John Haas. Son: Ross M. Johnson. Daughter:
Donna Haas. Sailor: Don Rosengren. Red Cross Ladies: Mrs. Gerald Sikkema,
Mrs. Edith Hoster, Mrs. Fred Stindt, Mrs. Raymond Ruckdeschel, Mrs. Geo.
Polte. Nurse: Mrs. Dale Humphrey. Iwo Jima Men: Jack Spencer, Jerry
Wolfe, Kenny Lotto, Richard Willhite, Leo Manon, Ted Nicklaus.
EPISODE SIXTEEN - THE ATOMIC ERA
I Bomb: Itself.
EPISODE SEVENTEEN - THE FIFTIES
The Teenage Girl: Sandy Parker. Teenagers: Hugo - Chris Hines, Penelope -
Barb Partridge, Margie - Joan Eshelman, Ursula - Sue McDonald, Harvey -
Doug Hand, Alice - Jackie Henson, Nancy - Vicki Dettman. Wynne Pyle,
Debbie Knuth, Margaret Casillos, Rita Rodriguez, Ellen Browne, Dove Bil-
leoux, Pot Noftzger, Iris Hermes, Bonnie Burger, Morcia Pro, Melisso Thome,
Sandra Pope, Donna Jacobs, Ruben Alba, Steven Humphrey, Danny Wald-
schmidt, Doug Knopp, Martin Ramirez, Jr., Gary Poci, Tim Kyger, Joe
Buckingham, Greg Pro, Randy Hart, Terri Wolf, Gary Buckingham, David
Deem, Mark Riggins, Claire Ruckdeschel, Sheila Keegan, Mary Johnson,
Rita Rodriguez, Estelita Rodriguez, Sheryl Hart, Joyce Jourdan, Judy Jourdan,
Peggy Dietz, Vicki Dettman, Connie Schultz, Janice Gehrke.
The Rocket: Itself. The Astronaut.
THE AGE OF SPACE
EPISODE TWELVE - AT THE FLICKS
Theda Bora: Mrs. Barry Tompkins, Rudolph Valentino: Don Oberbillig, Irate
Husband: Tom Kovodos.
The Entire Cast.
THE BEGINNING OR THE END
The Properties Committee wishes to thank oil those who donated properties
for the Spectacle. The committee also wishes to thank Harold Smith and Mrs.
Roy Adams for their assistance in securing properties, and Donald Murray,
Allen Gillette and James Higgins for collecting and cleaning the guns and
loading the shells.
The Spectacle Committee wishes to thank John Dussler and his staff, Jim
King and his staff and D & W Heating and Sheet Metal for their assistance in
construction of the stage.
Division Chairman: Floyd Corl. Co-Chairman: Lee Wolfe. Properties: Ralph
Fluck. Scenario and Title: Mrs. Frank J. Reichardt. Costumes and Makeup:
Mrs. George Billeoux. Construction: John Dussler. Grounds: James Hindley.
Cost Committee: Morlene Dykeman - Chairman, Edna Oberbillig, Gladys
Pense, Mary Myers, Ethel Janssen, Minerva Hogberg, Janet Oberbillig.
TOP 22 QUEEN CONTESTANTS
Charlotte Aper, Liz Beelendorf, Lorraine Dahlstrom, Jane Freeman, Florence
Guerrieri, Marion Hand, Betty Hanson, Esther Keime, Pat Kissee, Katie
Klocke, Chorlene Kulas, Phyllis A. Megli, Judy Nehrkorn, Judy Nailor,
Theresa Rank, Lillian Rohde, Sandra Semester, Janet Stevens, Billie Taylor,
Judy Thome, Loura Tintori, Margaret Tomkins.
The Rock Falls Optimist Club was organized April 17, 1947 with
Irving Weckessor as the first president.
The club' is very active in philanthropic work for boys and girls.
They organized and started Babe Ruth Baseball and they sponsor a
Little League Team. In 1947, they purchased and installed an elec-
tric score board at the Rock Falls High School Athletic field, at a
cost of $2300. Recently they have spent$500to repair the board and
bring it up to date for scoring and time.
Youth appreciation week is an annual project of the club, with
the students at Rock Falls High School organizing into two or more
political parties when they nominate and elect the various city of-
fices from the mayor on down.
Elected officials take over the city offices for a day and conduct
a council meeting. They are dined by the club atone of their regular
The club sponsors theGAA Dance each fall and pays for the or-
chestra for the Student Council Dance, at which time admission is
by food donations, which fill poor baskets.
Each summer, 15 boys are sponsored for a week at Camp Hau-
bert, a YMCA camp on the Mississippi River.
The club contributed $6000 to the Community and Youth Building.
It is in the process of development on Optimist Park and will con-
tinue to develop this site for recreational purposes.
Jim Johnson is the new Optimist President, secretary-treasurer
is Ross Lennox.
THE GOLDEN AGE CLUB
The Golden Age Club was organized in 1965 with the first pres-
ident Mrs. Esther Covel.
This is a very active social club which has many get-togethers
and pot-luck meetings. They also do many things to help the handi-
Mrs. Ann Richardson is the 1967 president.
GOOD FELLOWS OF GOLOMA
A group of representatives of the churches met Wednesday
evening, December 15, 1937 in the City Hall with Mayor Fiegley
and the City Council for the purpose of forming an organization to
look after our needy at Christmas time .
Mayor Fiegley called the meeting to order, and explained why
such an organization was needed. They were also to look after needy
families during the year.
Harry Fiegley was elected temporary chairman and Fred Smith
The first officers were: Chairman Robert Brown; Vice-chair-
man Rev. Harry Shiffer; Secretary Mrs. Karl Cruse; Treasurer
It was moved and seconded the organization be called "Good
Fellows of Coloma". Mayor Fiegley started the fund with a gift of
$5.00 in memory of his wife. The first year $189.59 was donated
and 79 families were helped.
In 1940, it was voted to discontinue baskets and to give grocery
certificates. Beginning November 7, 1946, the good fellows were
included in the Civic Fund and now receive monies from the Com-
The Good Fellows now give in addition to food certificates,
"Cheer Baskets" to the shut-ins.
In 1962, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the organization was
held with several of the original members present. Dick Willhite
and Harry Insley are both still members of the organization.
Present officers are: President William Maynard, Vice Chair-
man Elmer Schultz; Treasurer Mrs. Mervin McNinch and Secretary
Mrs. Frank Simpson.
ROCK FALLS YOUTH CENTER
In 1956, a group of boys met with Orval Howard in the recrea-
tion room of Coloma Homes, which is the local housing authority
buildings in Rock Falls. This was the beginning of a Youth Center
which filled a need in the lives of our young people. They would
meet twice a week for games, movies and fellowship. With the ad-
dition of equipment provided by the Optimist Club, interest contin-
ued and girls were included and started attending. Record playing
and dancing were added to their activities.
When Mrs . Elizabeth Kontos and sons John and Ted learned that
the Youth Center had outgrown the recreation room, they offered
the use of an upstairs room of theirdowntown building in Rock Falls
at a fee of $1.00 per year. Many hours of donated labor by adults
and the youngsters in cleaning, painting, plastering, and plumb-
ing, turned the room into a fine Youth Center facility. The new
quarters opened October 23, 1957 with over two hundred youth in
attendance. A membership fee of $1.00 per year plus 10( for each
night of attendance, was instituted. Monday night was designated
for junior high students and Wednesday night for high school stu-
dents . Baskets of food, canned goods for the needy and youth par
ades were some of the other activities in which the young people
Attendance continued to grow with a membership of 859 for the
two nights . It was felt that the Youth Center was outgrowing their
downtown location. About this time plans were being formulated for
a Civic Center for all city buildings and it seemed feasible to in-
clude a community building and a youth center in these plans. The
Civic Center was acquired by a referendum and the plans included
a Community- Youth Building as a part of the Center to be built by
private funds. After much work on a fund drive, the building was
started and progressed as funds became available. The building was
completed with furnishings being added as funds could provide them.
The building is available to the general public for civic meetings
and functions, and to the youth as a Youth Center. The Youth Cen-
ter was officially opened in September of 1966 with Orval Howard
continuing as director. Dancing, shuffle board and table tennis are
the main activities with a canteen providing refreshments .
WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION
The Women's Christian Temperance Union was organized in
Rock Falls in 1882 as a member of the tenth district which included
several counties .
The W.C.T.U. is a temperance organization which also does
much welfare work.
In 1892, the local group was hostess to the 9th Convention.
Known charter members were: Mrs. L.L. Emmons (Kate), Mrs.
Lu Worman, Francis Morrell, M.D., Mrs. W.B. Emmons (Fran-
cis), Mrs. James Harden, Mrs. A. Shirley, Mr. and Mrs. Leitch,
Mrs. Charles Glasburn, Mrs. Sabana Butler, Miss Mary Whitney,
Mrs. Fred Whitney, Miss Julia Kline, Mrs. E. Eberley, Mrs. H.
Warner, Mrs. Nellie Mouck and Mrs. B.H. Gray.
Mrs. P.H. Pohly, who joined in 1931, was an active member
until her death in 1964 at the age of 100.
The 1967 officers are: Mrs. Fred Humphrey, President; Mrs.
George Hinrichs, Vice-President; Mrs. Fred Reinhart, Secretary;
and Mrs. Arthur Purdue, Treasurer.
STERLING-ROCK FALLS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Through the efforts of Gunner Bensen and several other persons,
an organizational meeting for the Historical Society was held Feb-
ruary 27, 1959 in the Sterling Y.M.C. A.
The organization was chartered on May 19, 1959, with forty-one
members. A constitution was adopted and the first officers were:
Gunner Benson, President; Dick Metcalfe, Vice-President: Made-
leine Nutall, Secretary and Lloyd Elfline, Treasurer.
Records have been found of the first Whiteside County Historical
Society, which was organized in 1903 with W.W. Davis as Secretary.
The Historical Society plans are: Marking local historical sites;
Photographing source materials pertaining to local data; Taping and
making interviews with older residents for permanent records;
Collecting and preserving papers, letters, diaries, etc. of histor-
Tours of the local area are arranged, pointing out historical
The Society has a museum located in the Sterling Coliseum for
the display of articles and papers . Mrs . Winifred Moore was the
first curator of the museum. W. Corliss Bj-yant is the present
The museum is open on holidays or by calling Mr. Bryant, an
appointment can be made to make a visit.
In 1963, the Society became incorporated and is now affiliated
with the State Historical Society.
Present officers are: LeRoy Thummel, President; Lee Piper,
Vice-President; Alice Buyers, Secretary andElsie Buntley, Treas-
STERLING-ROCK FALLS CHAPTER SPEBSQSA, INC.
The Sterling-Rock Falls Chapter of Barbershoppers of the
SPEBSQSA, Inc. was organized in 1951. They have a membership
of forty-five men from the surrounding area. Present officers are:
Program Vice-President Ralph Campbell, Morrison; Membership
Vice-President Earl Beggs, Sterling; Secretary Howard Johnson,
Rock Falls; Treasurer Ed Schweiss, Sterling; Public Relations Don
This is a service organization. At Christmas time, they sing
for the Whiteside County Nursing Home, Martin Home, Colonial
Acres Nursing Home, Community General Hospital, Garden Homes
and Coloma Court. They annually sponsor a top Quartette Show,
which is their money making event.
STERLING-ROCK FALLS CHAPTER SWEET ADELINES, INC.
The local chapter of Sweet Adelines, Inc. was chartered on July
17, 1965. They have a membership of twenty-two at the present
Sweet Adelines, Inc. is an International organization whose func-
tion is barbershop singing for women. The ladies sing for churches,
schools, civic and community organizations. They are self-support-
ting and operate on a non-profit basis.
Founders of the Sterling-Rock Falls chapter were Liz Speer,
Grace Batley, Diane Pauley and Pat Ritenour. The original officers
were: President Liz Speer, Vice-President Diane Pauley, Secretary
Pat Ritenour and Treasurer Zelma Book.
The officers for 1967-68 are: President Norma Meyer, Vice-
President Jean Palethorpe, Recording Secretary Effie Hunsberger,
Corresponding Secretary Jacque Handel, Treasurer Bemice Fester.
The Pilot Club members are business and professional women
in Rock Falls and Sterling. They were organized locally in 1956 and
at present, have a membership of twenty-three. They are members
of Pilot International, which is a womens classified service club,
whose membership consists of business and professional women in
Mrs. Alice Lundstrom was the first president and Mrs. Ethel
Degnan is the 1966-67 president. Meetings are held twice monthly
'with prominent speakers for their dinner meetings .
They are engaged in a number of service activities to the com-
munity. Two major projects are scholarships, which are given
annually in memory of deceased members. One is a $200.00 Sauk
Valley College scholarship, given to a student in one of the three
local high schools in memory of Mrs. Jeanette Polzin. The other
is a $300.00 nursing scholarship in memory of Mrs. Liia McGava.
WHITESIDE COUNTY RABBIT BREEDERS ASSOCIATION
The Whiteside County Rabbit Breeders Association organized
October 18, 1940 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Short. The first
officers were elected at a meeting held in the Glenn Detweiler home.
President Harold Hurd, Jr. Vice-President Howard Sucher, Sec-
Treas. Neil Short.
In 1943, there were 18 members. The club now has two rabbit
shows a year, one at the Whiteside County Fair Grounds and one at
the Sterling Coliseum.
The club helps children in starting to raise rabbits and instructs
them in showing rabbits. It gives a helping hand to new breeders.
Charter members who still belong to the club are: Mrs. Eva
Purdue, Mrs. Blanche Short and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Detweiler.
ROCK FALLS PRESIDENTS AND MAYORS
Throughout the 100 years of the history of Rock Falls, we have
had many men who have given of themselves to serve our town as
leaders. It xvould be impossible to name all of them in a small his-
torical booklet. The town, although settled in 1867, was not incor-
porated as a village until 1869. In the first election for officers,
William L. Smith was elected president and Henry P. Price as
clerk. They each served only one year and were succeeded in 1870
by A.C. Hapgood as president and J. Burdick as clerk. The follow-
ing year, E.G.W. Parks, who owned the paper mill, became presi-
dent and Hapgood took over as clerk. C.H. Payson succeeded Mr.
Parks and J. McDonald became clerk. From 1873 to 1876, Almon
Wheeler was president and W.H. Tuttle was clerk. 1876 found J.
D. Davis as president and George W. Nance as clerk.
The records from the year 1877 through 1886 could not be found,
but we are quite sure that Joseph Wright served at least one term
as president. The following five years from 1886 to 1891, W.H.
Cadwell was the clerk and R.H. Sheldon, W.S. Knee and George W.
Packer each served a one year term as president. In 1889, Rock
Falls was incorporated as a town and elected its first mayor, Eg-
bert L. Wilson, who died in office in 1891. Joseph Wright was ap-
pointed to fill out his term.
1891 through 1893, John Kadel was mayor with J.D. Montague
serving as clerk the first year and E.G. Winters as clerk the years
of 1893 through 1905. From 1893-1895, D.O. Coe was mayor. Dur-
ing his term, the Bridge Street sewer was installed. In 1895, R.L.
Leitch was elected mayor by only one vote on the 'no license' party.
Ward Line succeeded him and the sidewalks were built on Gray St.
From 1899 through 1903, R.H. Woods was mayor and sidewalks
were built on Dixon Avenue, East Third Street and 1st, 2nd and 3rd
T.E. Erwin, a former township supervisor, was mayor from
1903 through 1905. More sidewalks were built on First Avenue and
the Fifth Avenue and Second Street sewers were installed.
In 1905, Walter Murray became mayor and J.G. Limerick, the
clerk. They both served two years. During Murray's term, the first
pavement was put in from First Avenue to Fourth Avenue on West
Second Street. The Eighth Avenue and West Fifth Street sewers were
A. A. Thome began his first of fourteen years as mayor of Rock
Falls in 1907. These were not consecutive years. C.L. Hubbard
became city clerk and served two years. During Thome's first
term. First Avenue was paved as far as Dixon Avenue and the Dixon
Avenue sewer was installed.
E.U. Taylor, who ran a hardware store, became mayor in 1909
and served until 1911. J.G. Limerick became city clerk again and
served through A. A. Thome's second term, 1911-1913. Mr. Lim-
erick was a barber and in later years also served as a justice of the
A.C. Stanley was mayor from 1913-1915 and C.A. Frey was
clerk. A. A. Thome was again mayor from 1915-1923, with P.H.
Davis serving as clerk the first four years and Fred S. Howe be-
ginning a 15 year term as clerk in 1919. During these terms of
Mayor Thome, $15,000 was spent on new boilers for the electric
light plant, built prior to 1895. Also the first motor fire truck was
purchased in 1920 at a cost of $7,000.
David L. King was mayor from 1923 through 1927. It was then
the ornamental lights were installed, also the pavement from West
Second Street to the bridge and Twelfth Avenue from West Second
Street to the Avenue G Bridge constructed. A. A. Thome then served
his last two years as mayor. During this term, the EastSecond
Street sewer was laid.
Gus Hanson, a barber, was mayor from 1931 to 1933. He was a
Spanish-American war veteran and was for many years a Justice of
the Peace. Samuel Feigely took office in 1933. He, too, was a
Spanish-American war veteran. During his term, the primary
treatment sewage disposal plant was built. In 1934, Earl Forehand
became clerk, which office he still holds. Mr. Feigely served as
mayor until 1945 when he was succeeded by Frank Trager, a Sterl-
ing plumbing and heating contractor.
Irving Weckesser, who had a plumbing shop in Rock Falls, be-
came mayor in 1949 and served until 1953. During his term, a
$500,000 bond issue was passed and the main extensions of the
sewer were installed. Prior to that time, there was very little
sewer line south of Fifth Street.
Albert E. George succeeded Weckesser as mayor and was
elected supervisor of the township after his term as mayor. He had
to resign this office due to ill health.
Louis J. Pignatelli, a native son and an attorney, was elected
to his first term as mayor in 1957 and has been re-elected twice -
his present term expiring in 1969. During his terms of office, many
fine improvements have been made. Blocks of new curb and gutter
and blacktop streets have been installed. The new civic center was
his dream and became a reality in 1964 with the completion of the
new Fire-Police Service building and the new City Administration
building and library. This fine new complex of buildings would do
credit to a town many times our size. The new Community-Youth
building, also in the civic center, was dedicated on April 9 of this
year. A new band shelter has also been built during Mayor Pigna-
The present city council and the wards they represent are as
follows: First Ward, Ernest Conley and Oscar Werland; Second
Ward, Henry Bright and Paul Fulrath; Third Ward, Wilbur McNInch
and Albert Jensen; Fourth Ward, James Baker and Joseph Padilla.
Some of the other accomplishments of Mr. pignaieiii s terms
have been the four-laning of Route 30 by the state and the installa-
tion of the light standards from the Prophetstown Road on the west
to the canal east of Route 88, by the city. The new uptown street
lighting was also installed. The water system was also purchased
and expanded. The new disposal plant has been built and sanitary
sewer lines installed east of the canal. The Industrial Park was
started and a $60,000 hook and ladder fire truck purchased.
ROCK FALLS FIRE DEPARTMENT
The oldest document that has been found regarding what is now
called Rock Falls Police and Fire Service, is a certificate of ac-
ceptance of members of the Keystone Hose Co. by the village board
of trustees filed with the city clerk on August 30, 1879. In 1885, the
village board paid the members of the Keystone Hose Co. $1.00
each, for each fire attended. They were stationed in the Keystone
Buildings and the fire bell was atop the Keystone Office Building
(now occupied by the Masonic Temple). In 1889, the village asked
that 6 of the firemen be stationed at the city building and this was
The group at the City Hall became known as the Rock Falls Hose
Company. Now that there were two companies, the company attend-
ing the fire received donations from the party whose building(s) were
involved. This led to some disagreement and even fights between
the companies to see who would get to the fire first. If both com-
panies responded, a fight ensued and the building was often left to
burn to the ground. Finally, a dividing line was agreed upon. They
also had their troubles back then, with spectators getting in the way
of the fire fighters and in 1890, they asked the village board forhelp.
In 1891, the city began purchasing equipment, and in 1893, the
Rock Falls Company was certified a member of the Illinois Fire-
men's Ass'n. On April 9, 1894, the Keystone Hose Company joined
the Rock Falls Company. The 18 men of these companies were then
considered as charter members of the Rock Falls Company. These
charter members were: A. J. Burdick, J.D. Montague, A. C. Stan-
ley, John Dickson, Frank Bemis, John Eitman, A.K. Page, S.M.
Mingle, D. Coe, P. A. Whitney, A. Hoefler, H.C. Rouse, Howard
Arey, B.F. Kadel, J.V. McCarty, John Pippert, Fred Smith and
Rock Falls Fire Horses Thome & Grady with Parr Whitney
It was 1908 when the city felt it could afford horses to pull their fire equipment,
instead of the brawn of the men of the department. Mayor Thome and Alderman C.
C. Grady purchased the two dappled draft horses and they were promptly named
Thome and Grady. They were retired to a farm near Geneseo in the early 1920's
when the fire deportment purchased its first motorized equipment.
In August of 1908, the city council purchased a team of horses
to pull the fire wagons. They were named Thome and Grady, after
the mayor, A. A. Thome and alderman Grady. A new building was
built that year to house the horses.
In 1921, after 12 years of service, the horse drawn wagon gave
way to a hose and chemical truck, a motor vehicle which was pur-
chased by the Volunteer Department. After this purchase, the horses
were retired to a farm south of the city. At this time, EdDerwant
was chief, Wm. Tyne, assistant chief, J.W. Olson, secretary and
Sam Traister, treasurer. On Sunday, January 22, 1922, the Meth-
odist Church caught fire and was a total loss . This was due to low
water pressure, since Sterling was having achurchfire at the same
time and both cities were sharing the same water system. On
March 1, 1922, C. Scott was elected chief.
In 1928, a 600 gallon Peter Pirtch pumper was placed in service.
This truck cost$9, 000 and the city gave $2, 300 toward its purchase.
In 1936, another 600 gallon pumper was purchased by the Volunteer
Department, which paid $499. 00 as a down payment- said sum hav-
ing been borrowed from the city. In 1946, the Volunteer Department
bought a John Bean high pressure truck. This was the first of its
type in this area.
A Chevrolet ambulance was put in service in 1940 and in 1948 a
Cadillac ambulance, made at the local Eureka Company, was put
on emergency service in the city and rural areas. In 1949, part of
the city and the rural area didn't have any water supply, so the de-
partment purchased a 1,500 gallon tank truck. The volunteers and
paid men built a 800 gallon tank truck in 1952. The same year, the
International Harvester Company donated a station wagon, which
was made into a rescue truck to haul light plant, smoke ejector and
tarpaulins for covering household goods to keep them from water
damage. Also in 1952, R.J. Maynard was appointed chief and has
remained in that office to the present day.
A 750 gallon high-low pressure truck was purchased at a cost
of $21, 000 in 1955. The city gave $5,000 toward the purchase.
March of 1958, the police and fire departments co-ordinated and
became what is now known as the Rock Falls Police- Fire Service.
The city purchased another 750 gallon high-low pressure truck in
A one-year-old Dalmation dog was donated to the department by
Dr. Ogden of Tampico in 1951. The dog, who was named Topper,
retired in 1963. A new 4 wheel drive rescue truck, with all the latest
equipment available, was put in service in 1966. Also a 75 foot
aerial truck, the first for the department, was put into service.
Through the years, there has been a total of 205 members in
this department. All of these men have gained a lot of experience
for the time they spent in service to the department. This history
has been compiled from the minutes of meetings held.
In the old days, the Fire Chief was called the "Foreman". In
,1879, this was H.L. Nevrton, 1886, it wasI.W. Ishwood and in 1893,
A.C. Stanley was appointed Fire Marshal. Some of the others who
served in this capacity were: J.D. Montague, John Pippert, Robert
Harper, F.J. Wagley, C. Grady, Charles Billings, John Washburn
and John Edeus .
CONSTABLES AND CHIEFS OF POLICE
Since the organization of the town, many men have served as
constable and in later years as chiefs of police. Most served for
only a year or two, until 1887 when H.L. Brewer was appointed. He
served in that capacity for nine years until 1902 - although not in
consecutive years. H.J. Presbry served for nine years from April
8, 1911 until May of 1923 - again not continuously. Succeeding him
were P. A. Whitney, Charles S. Johnson and Al Berlin, who served
for 6 years; and M.B. McDonnell from May, 1933 to May 1945.
Harry A. Smith succeeded him and served two years and was suc-
ceeded by Orvel Howard, who served until 1948. Glenn Keime was
appointed Chief of Police on October 18, 1949 and served in that
capacity until April 4, 1959 and is still a member of the force.
When the Police Fire Service became one in 1960, Russell J. May-
nard was appointed chief of both services and still serves in that
ROCK FALLS LIGHT DEPARTMENT
In 1895, an election was held for the purpose of establishing an
electric light plant for Rock Falls. On April 13, 1895, the council
voted to establish a light plant and on June 13 of that year, a con-
tract was awarded to the Standard Electric Company of Chicago to
build a power plant and lighting system.
At first the plant was operated only from sunset to sunrise with
a moonlight schedule for the street arc lamps. Otherwise, all arc
lights were turned off at midnight.
The first electric customer was the old Geyer Building. A street
light circuit was run into the building and a single light was hung in
the middle of the main room. Thus his store was lighted during the
hours that the street lights were burning. This was the start of
commercial lighting in the city and the money he paid for this ser-
vice was the first electric revenue collected by the department.
No meters were used. A flat rate charge of 20( per month per
lamp being made.
In 1900, Superintendent Oley M. Aarvig was hired. He had been
on the job when the original installation was made and had helped to
build the street light circuit.
In 1904, new equipment was added and in 1906, 215 meters were
installed, each property owner paying$17.00 per meter. On Decem-
ber 6, 1909, a 24 hour schedule for lighting was begun. In 1924, the
steam plant was closed dovra and the entire load of the city was
connected to the Illinois Northern Utilities lines at 2300 volts under
rate "c". Under the I.N.U. contract, the plant was very success-
ful. Lines were extended, streets were well lighted and profits ac-
cumulated. Capacitators were installed and Rock Falls received a
rate "d" and the savings paid for the capacitators in 8 months.
In 1954, the city and the RB&W exchanged some properties as
the old light plant was located at 101 Avenue A, which was adjacent
to the RB&W Plant. A new electric building and office was con-
structed at 205 East 3rd Street. This is still the light plant. How-
ever, with the construction of the new community building, the of-
fice was transferred with the other city offices.
There have been only six superintendents in the Electric Depart-
ment; L.J. Dow, 1895-1898; H.L. Page, 1898-1899; Charles Mc-
Carty, 1899-1900; O.M. Aavig, 1900-1945; Leonard O. Skaggs,
1945-1965. Leonard had worked under Oley and knew the complex
Rock Falls system. He died while still active in the department.
Milo F. Bryant, who trained under Leonard, is now superindentent
of the Light Department.
OUR CITY SEWER
Prior to 1936, Rock Falls was guilty, as were most all cities on
rivers, of dumping raw sewage into the Rock River. But on January
3rd of that year, we saw the error of our ways and a special elec-
tion was held authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds
for the purpose of defraying part of the cost of constructing storm
sewers, sanitary sewers and a primary treatment sewage plant. It
carried by the large margin of 244 "yes" votes to only 85 "no" votes.
Land was purchased along the river just west of 12th Avenue for
the location of the sewage treatment facility.
In 1949, another election was held for a bond issue to extend the
sewer lines and was again passed. Sewer lines were then extended
to many of the fringe areas which previous to that time, had had to
rely on their own septic tanks.
April 23, 1963, another election was held for funds with which
to build a new sewage treatment plant. It narrowly missed defeat
by a vote of 601 "yes" votes to 600 "no" votes. The new plant is at
the same location as the old. In 1964, a sewer lift station was built
east of the canal.
To help pay for these new improvements, each resident and
business connected to the sewer lines pays a fee on his utility bill
THE WATER DEPARTMENT
Prior to 1959, all residents and businesses purchased their
water directly from the Northern Illinois Water Corporation. In
1958, the city decided to investigate the possibility of purchasing
the waterworks system serving the city of Rock Falls and extending
and improving said system and making sewer improvements in con-
junction therewith and financing this project by the issuance of bonds
payable solely from the revenues of the waterworks and sewer
In August of 1958, the Citizens' Water Committee's report on
the purchase of the water system was approved by the city council.
In February of 1959, the council passed an ordinance creating an
issue of $1, 350, 000 water revenue bonds to pay for the new water
During the period of construction, the city purchased water from
Northern Illinois Water Corporation and resold it to residents.
Land was purchased, wells were drilled and in 1960 the new
storage tank was erected. Lines were extended and Improved and
the city now has a fine new water system of its own.
Little can be found about the first cemetery in Coloma Township
or Rock Falls. Rumor has it at one time, a small cemetery plot was
located on the corner of Dixon Avenue and First Avenue, but no re-
cord is found of the number of graves or when they were removed
to what now is the I.O.O.F. Cemetery.
In 1889, the town board appointed a committee consisting of J.
H. Patterson, K. Woodford and L.H. Woodworth, to purchase
ground for a cemetery. $200 had been appropriated the previous
year for this purpose. The 1877 plat map of the township does not
show a cemetery.
The I.O.O.F. Cemetery was established in 1883. There are a
number of tombstones which pre-date this, which were undoubtedly
moved from another location. Among these stones were Joseph
Wright's wife, we believe, "Lou born in 1857 - died in 1882". His
father and mother, Mary M. Wright 1819-1912, and Hugh Wright
1798-1895. These graves were removed from Montmorency Ceme-
tery in 1927. Joseph Wright had a long life, born 1848, died 1944.
Another early grave was Sarah Ann Murray, 1841-1858. Her grave-
stone is engraved:
"Weep not for me, my mother dear
I am not dead, but sleeping here".
A brother, Coburn Murray, 1822-1868, was also here as well as
Elizabeth Murray, born 1820 and died 1872 and is on the same plot.
A.C. Stanley was the first treasurer of the I.O.O.F. Cemetery.
The third lot sold was to T. Stevenson, who purchased a lot for
The I.O.O.F. Cemetery was shaded by large evergreens for a
number of years. However, when a large flock of birds began using
these trees for nesting and sleeping quarters, the cemetery was
cleared to keep the gravestones clean and to let grass grow on the
grave lots. Some of the early pioneers sleeping here are; John L.
Morrill, 1823-1898; George Adair, 1827-1906; J. B. Mingle, 1834-
1896; L.H. Woodworth, 1806-1902; Henry Price, 1830-1892; G.
Rosengren, 1835-1905; Joseph Bickford, 1830-1897; Thomas Ro-
binson, born in Wilkeshire, England, 1801-1901; Captain Wm.
In the Arey family plot were found the following: Sarah Arey,
1844-1914; Cpl. Richard Arey, no date; James C. Arey, a Civil
War Veteran, 1837-1913; his wife Mary, 1838-1923.
The Odd Fellows have made many improvements and additions
to the cemetery through the years . They have added ground to the
south of the old cemetery which will provide adequate space for
burials for many years to come.
Egbert Wilson - First Mayor of Rocl< Fo
1967 City Council
Standing back row: City Attorney, Jacob Cantli
Joseph Padillo, James Baker; City Clerk Earl Forehand; Alderr
and Paul Fulrath. Second row: Aldermen Wilbur McNinch, Os
Ernest Conley. Seated at desk: Mayor Louis J. Pignotelli.
en Henry Bright
:ar Werland and
Loop Barber Shop
ACROSS FROM ROCK FALLS NATIONAL BANK
Ladies - Men's - Children's
Walk in or Phone 625-4020
Happy Williamson - Prop.
30114 First Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
ROCK FALLS REALTY
HERMES & HERMES
"MEANS COMPLETE SATISFACTION"
Homes - Farms - Appraisals
"City Wide • Country Side"
301 1st Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
Locally produced DeKaib Feeds aid the cattle
feeder, hog feeder, and dairyman in getting more
pounds of beef, pork and milk from grains and
roughages grown on their farms.
The wide use of DeKaib Feeds returns dollars
to be spent in local stores, to pay taxes, improve
living standards. Thus, sales of DeKaib Feeds
DeKaib Feeds Division
W.R. GRACE & CO.
ROCK FAILS, IlllNOIS
THE ROCK FALLS POST OFFICE
The first post office on the south side of the Rock River was es-
tablished in 1847 in what was then called Rapids Precinct. Artemus
Worthington .was the postmaster. A mail route on the south side of
the river from Dixon to Prophetstown was also established, but was
discontinued after a short time.
The first post office in Rock Falls was established on March 11,
1868. Truman Culver was the postmaster and he had the post office
in his grocery store, which stood at the corner of Main and May,
now West Second and Second Avenue. Mr. Culver was postmaster
until 1872 or 1873 when O.K. Brown took over. J.B. Ralph suc-
ceeded Mr. Brown, serving from 1877 to 1882. During the year
ending June 30, 1878, postal receipts were $3,201.40. The first
money order was issued July 6, 1874. The remitter was Orson
Scott, amount $10.00 and fee 5^!. James Pettigrew succeeded Mr.
Ralph, serving from 1882 until 1886. Next came Robert McNeil who
served until 1890. Freeman Rosebrook next serving from 1890 to
1894 and Joseph Wright succeeded him and served until 1898. An-
drew Goodell was the next postmaster and served until 1906. During
his administration, rural mail delivery was begun. There were
three carriers, they being Darius Underwood, Charles Atkins and
rrier. He is the father of George Bassett, who
ute June 16, 1911. He died in 1937 while still
Aug Bassett, on early rural mail
began carrying mail on the rural
with the department.
Captain Wm. Parker served from March 1906 until December
of 1907. He died in service and his wife, Edna was acting post-
mistress until February 1908. Ex-Mayor RoUin H. Woods succeed-
ed Mrs. Parker and served until August 18, 1914. Charles C.
Grady served from that date until August 31, 1923. It was during
his administration city delivery was begun on April 1, 1918. The
first regular carriers were Charles F. Willett and Kenneth Stone,
with Delbert Wright as substitute carrier. It was also during his
administration that the post office at Rock Falls changed from third
class to second class. With this change, employees were subject
to civil service rules and regulations.
Earl L. Longfellow became acting postmaster on September 1,
1923 and received his regular appointment on March 1, 1924 and
served until August 31, 1933. Succeeding him was Robert E. Har-
per, who was postmaster until his death in March, 1940. William
F. Klocke, assistant postmaster since 1913, managed the post of-
fice until Charles H. Beien was appointed acting postmaster on
April 9, 1940. Mr. Beien was commissioned on April 21, 1941 and
was postmaster until April 30, 1958, at which time he retired.
Elmer J. Leusby became acting postmaster on May 1, 1958 and was
commissioned on May 13, 1959.
Aside from Mrs. Parker, who was acting postmistress for two
months, only two other women have worked in the post office. Alice
Presbry (Arnold), became money order clerk on May 28, 1908 and
served until her retirement in the early 1940's. Ann Rossiter also
worked briefly at the post office.
After the post office left Mr. Culver's Grocery Store, we have
found no records stating where the post offices were. It was at 203
West Second for a time and then moved back to the Culver Building,
which it occupied until the new post office was built in 1937 and
1938. The new building was occupied on February 12, 1938.
It is now a first class post office. The 1966 postal receipts were
In addition to Mr. Leusby, who has been with the postal depart-
ment since 1935, and the assistant postmaster, George Gronis, who
is a nephew of Wm. Klocke, there are 25 other employees. There
are now but two rural routes using two carriers. There are 9 city
carriers and the balance are employeed in other capacities.
The post office has received a beautification award this year. A
citation of merit was presented Mr. Leusby at the Rock Falls Wo-
man's Club meeting on April 11. The citation was presented to the
post office on behalf of the citizens of the community as a result of
the renovation of the grounds, the planting of new evergreens and
the complete repainting of the exterior of the post office, the yearly
planting of flowers and the attractive appearance of the building and
grounds. Rock Falls was one of only three post offices in the coun-
try to receive this award in President Johnson's Program of Natur-
al Beauty, designed to improve the landscape of the nation.
There are three retired personel of the post office still living.
Charles Beien retired on April 30, 1958. Arthur Ross began ser-
vice in Mt. Carroll on September 1, 1920 and was transferred to
Rock Falls on October 1, 1934. He retired December 1, 1957, hav-
ing served thirty seven years. He began in the horse and buggy era
and continued through the airmail era. He was a rural carrier all
during this time.
Frank Stephenson, also retired, began working for the post of-
fice on November 1, 1941 and retired February 1, 1961. He was a
PARK DISTRICT, TOWN OF COLOMA
On April 16, 1925, Jacob Cantlin, H.W. Moates and Charles
Smith met in the office of Attorney Cantlin and the "Park District,
Town of Coloma" was formed. The officers were: President Jacob
Cantlin; Secretary and Treasurer Charles A. Smith. At the time of
this organization, the only park in Coloma Township was Triangle
Park, belonging to the city. This park (Triangle) , was donated to the
city of Rock Falls in 1892 by Abner L. Merrill. The name given to
the park at that time was Tracy Park. It was later turned over to
Coloma Park District. The name Triangle Park was changed to
Veterans Memorial Park at the time that the bandshell was com-
pleted in 1958 and dedicated to all men and women who had served
in all wars . This park is located between 5th and 6th Avenues ad-
jacent to West 5th Street.
Lawrence Park was donated to the Sterling Park Board and the
Park District of Coloma. This was donated by the Lawrence family.
On October 20, 1926, it was agreed that all expenses of caring tor
the upkeep of the park and the erection of buildings and pool should
be on the ratio of 80 to 20%.
Nimswas the next park organized in Rock Falls, located at the
east end of Third Street along Avenue E. It was donated to the Park
District by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schoaf (Bessie Nims) on April 8,
1940. It was given by them in memory of her parents. On April 15,
1947, the park board leased the land which ran from the rear of the
park to the canal from the Federal Government and have since then,
kept it up for additional play ground. Here is a large shelter house
with four fire places . Ball diamonds and many pieces of play ground
equipment are here for the smaller folk.
On September 3, 1947, the Park Board purchased what is now
WaUingford Park. This park is located between 7th and 8th Streets.
It was purchased from the Fire Department for the sura of $6,000.
Here, we have a modern Little League baseball diamond complete
with lights, concession stands, bleachers and rest room facilities.
There is also playground equipment for the smaller folks. A hard
ball diamond is also located in this park. It was named WaUingford
Park in recognition of Mr. Ed WaUingford, who was then president
of the board.
.About eight years later, land along the river on East Second
Street was leased from Mr. P.W. Dillon. At this time, the land had
a very heavy undergrowth of brush and had been used as a city dump.
It was immediately cleared and filled in with earth. It is now beau-
tifully sodded and planted with many trees, shrubs and flowers. A
fireplace and picnic tables have been placed beneath the large oak
trees. .A black topped drive has been built down to the lower level
along the river. Many fishermen find this an ideal place for fishing
and mooring their boats.
Dillon Park was purchased in 1955 from the estate of Mr. W.M.
Dillon and the park was named for him. Here a modern lighted
baseball diamond has been erected with bleachers, concession
stands and restrooms. The Babe Ruth League play their games here
and it is also the home of the Rockster Girls Softball team. This
diamond was consti-ucted through the cooperation of the Park Board,
Rock Falls Optimist Club and the city of Rock Falls. This park is
located between 19th and 21st Streets.
An eight week summer recreation program is conducted in all
various parks, at St. Andrews Grade School, EastColoma and Rock
Falls High School. This project is under the sponsorship of the
The Park Board leased the land at the corner of Prophetstown
Road and 14th Avenue from the Elementary School Board. Later
they released it to the Optimist Club to be used for a playground.
They have a baseball diamond and playground equipment.
Mr. Cantlin's term expired in April 1927 and Charles Burgess
was elected. In 1937, Ed WaUingford replaced Mr. Burgess and
Grover Lane was also elected, increasing the board to four mem-
bers. When Mr. Moates passed away in 1939, Frank Seward was
elected to fill his place and in 1941, August Schultz was elected to
fill the office left by Grover Lane. At the death of August Schultz in
1946, L.O. Hoak was elected and in 1949, he was replaced by Floyd
Balla. The Park Board is composed of Norman Eichenberg, Floyd
Balla and Frank Seward. George Hinrichs was a member of the
board but passed away in February 1967.
COLOMA TOWNSHIP LIBRARY
ROCK FALLS PUBLIC LIBRARY
In the mid nineteen thirties, steps were taken to give Rock Falls
its first library. Through the diligent efforts of Rev. James R. Uh-
linger along with support of the Rock Falls Woman's Club, interest-
ed citizens and with help from the W.P.A., it was accomplished.
During the early years, the library was housed in the old Rock
Falls National Bank Building, the Cruse Building and Merrill School.
Miss Geneva Hirth was the first librarian and served faithfully until
her retirement in 1961. Miss Betty Brown succeeded her and is the
The library operated as aW.P.A. project until September 1939,
at which time the Coloma Township voted to support a library with
a tax levy and the library became the Coloma Township Public
On September 29, 1939, the first elected board was organized
with Rev. James R. Uhlinger, chairman, Mrs. Ona Mae Bivans,
secretary, Mrs. Anna Grosse, treasurer and Dr. Glenn J. Pohly,
Mr. E.I. Lehr and Mrs. Catherine Grothe as members.
The library moved into the Johnston Building on First Avenue in
September 1943. Here it served the community for twenty-two years.
In November 1965, the Coloma Township Public Library merged
with the city of Rock Falls, thus forming a City-Township library
to be known as the Rock Falls Public Library.
The library is now housed in the north wing of the new Municipal
Building. The city furnishes the room, utilities and janitor service.
They have also equipped the library with new furnishings. The mon-
ey received from township tax collections, pays for the salaries,
books, supplies, etc.
The board consists of nine members, six of whom are elected
by the voters of Coloma Township and three who are appointed by
the mayor. The mayor automatically appoints the six elected board
mehibers. All appointments are confirmed by the city council.
Everyone in the township has library privileges dependent onlv
on library rules and regulations. Those outside the township may
have library privileges upon paying a small fee.
The first board of the Rock Falls Public Library was Mr. Clark
Hoot, Mr. Kenneth Glover, Mr. Milton Rubin, Mrs. Sue Hendricks,
lyirs. Helen McKinney, Mrs. Dorothy Walter, Mr. James Baker,
Mrs. Mary Marquis and Mrs. Ann Atilano.
Acknowledgement is hereby made to all the board members and
the staff who have served the library so faithfully and with dedica-
tion over the years.
URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT
The city of Rock Falls is conducting an Urban Renewal Project,
which briefly is doing the following: the city is purchasing 54 acres
of poorly developed land near the central part of Rock Falls and is
clearing this land of all existing structures. New streets, sewers,
water mains, and all other services are being installed. This land
is being subdivided into modern residential building lots and is be-
ing sold to private builders and home owners who will build the ac-
tual dwellings, which will complete the redevelopment.
This development, known as Garden View Subdivision, promises
to be one of the nicest residential areas in the city. This project is
well on its way to completion, with some of the redeveloped lots
ready for sale; several of which have already been sold and are be-
ing built upon.
HOUSING FOR FAMILIES WITH LIMITED INCOME
The city of Rock Falls, in cooperation with the Whiteside County
Housing Authority, has sponsored and has built many housing units
that are exclusively for families and individuals with limited income.
The are as follows:
125 homes for families with the only requirement being that they
have a limited income. The rents are based upon the ability of the
family to pay. These are located on Coloma Court in Rock Falls.
40 homes for elderly families or individuals with the require-
ment that the head of the family be 62 years of age or older and also
with a limited income; these are located on Garden Circle near
East 7th Street and First Avenue.
These 165 units are now in operation and providing good stand-
ard housing for many people.
There are now another 100 units for elderly families, being
made ready for construction, which will be rented on the same
This housing construction is in addition to many new convention-
al homes constructed in the recent years and many more under
construction now by private builders.
Until the year 1856, the only transportation into this area, was
by wagon, stage coach, on foot or by water. The Rock River has
never been too reliable as a means of transportation. As its name
implies, it has a rocky bed in many places and this was certainly
true in our area. Much time, money and effort was spent in the
early days trying to make the old Rock navigable. They even tried
removing rocks from the riverbed by hand. And of course, in Rapid
City days, an effort was made to build a canal around the Rapids,
but all to no avail. At high water times, it was possible to navigate
as far as Wisconsin. In 1840, the Steamer Gypsy came up the river
from the Mississippi and proceeded as far as Janesville, Wiscon-
sin. John Mason acted as pilot to conduct. this steamer over the
rapids. On the Gypsy's return trip, the water had fallen to such a
degree, that by the time she reached the rapids, she could not get
over them and had to land on the north side of the river and remove
all her cargo and even some of the flooring from the upper deck in
order to get over the rapids. The residents of our neighbor city
across the river, welcomed the cargo with glee, as a considerable
portion of it was whiskey.
In 1841, a flat boat came up the river as far as the rapids and
an attempt was made to pole it over the rapids, but it resulted in
failure. Since those early days, the river has been used for little
except pleasure craft. The first pleasure boat on the river was
ovraedbyA.P. Smith. L.C. Thome, CB&Q station agent in Rock
Falls for nearly 40 years, had a 40 foot steam launch shipped here
on the railroad. He owned it in partnership with Harry Hubbard. It
was shipped to a siding nearest the river where a 100 foot long skid
was built at a point just above the First Avenue Bridge and the boat
unloaded. The boat, named the Neptune, was a familiar sight for
many years and carried many parties up the river as far as Dixon.
In 1856, the railroad came to Sterling. Thus the early settlers
of Rock Falls were able to come here by train. The advent of the
railroad provided a means of getting the farm and industrial pro-
ducts of the area to Chicago, where they found a ready market.
Prior to that, it took many days, by horse and wagon, over difficult
trails, fording streams and rivers to get their products to market
and bring back the other necessities which they needed.
Not too long after A. P. Smith began the town of Rock Falls, he
realized that a railroad directly to our town was a necessity, if we
were to attract and keep the industry which we had. He approached
the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, which went through Sterling
and asked them to build a bridge across the river to Rock Falls.
This they refused to do and told him if he must have a railroad, he
must build it. This Mr. Smith proceeded to do.
The CBijy Railiuad hjd becuied control of the Rocklord, Rock
Island and St. Louis Railroad, which was being built from St. Louis
and had reached Sterling, when it became bankrupt. Mr. Smith went
to them and they told him that if he would obtain the right of way and
grade the roadbed from Rock Falls to Shabbona to connect with their
St. Paul and Minneapolis line to Chicago, they would lay the rails
and operate the road.
Mr. Smith then organized the Chicago and Rock River Railroad
with Coloma Township and Montmorency each pledging $50,000.
Harmon Township in Lee County and the various villages and towns
through which the road was to pass on its route to Shabbona, a dis-
tance of 47 miles, all agreed to help finance the project. But about
this time, the supreme court declared unconstitutional, the statute
granting aid in this manner. This led to long dravm out litigation,
all parties trying to get out of paying what aid they had voted. Co-
loma Township, which benefited most from the railroad which had
voted the $50,000 with only three dissenting votes, eventually had
to pay their share after litigation and interest had boosted it to
$75,000. In return for their money, they received $50,000 worth of
stock in the railroad, which by then was not worth the paper it was
written on. The road passed into the hands of the CB&Q before its
completion. The CB&Q wanted to build a bridge across the river so
as to make them a through line from Chicago to St. Louis and offer-
ed to buy the stock from Coloma Township for $2500, rather than
to go to the expense of foreclosing their mortgage. The soap box
orators of the day made it difficult to obtain a majority of votes to
accept this offer, but it finally was.
By that time, the line had been run down River Street to service
all the factories along the mill race and river. A depot was built
just north of Third Street on Avenue A. This was a busy depot for
many years, carrying passengers and freight. The old depot was
torn down In 1966 to make room for a parking lot for theRB&W.
A Mr. Merchant was the first agent for the CB&Q. Mr. Fred
Babcock was the second and in 1877, Mr. L.C. Thome was ap-
pointed agent and continued in that capacity until his retirement in
1915. George F. DeMurray succeeded him.
Probably the first taxi service in Rock Falls was begun by Al
Berlin. He had two 'cabs ! One pulled by ahorse, "Old Blind Maude, "
and the other by two ponies. They took telephone orders at their
home, 509 Third Ave. , then later from a restaurant, which the
family started next to Wylie's Drug Store. When automobiles be-
came popular, Mr. Berlin switched to two cars and later four and
became associated with Yellow Cab Co. He operated from Rock
Falls for a year or two, then moved the offices to Sterling. This
business was later sold to the Ferris'. The business returned to
Rock Falls again in 1948, when it was purchased by Wm. Montgom-
ery. The business was first operated from his body shop at 102
12th Avenue and later moved to quarters downtown at 305 West 2nd
Street. The Yellow Cab Co. was purchased by E.G. Wolf, Jr. in
1954 and the offices are now located at 1901 1st Avenue. Mr. Wolf
also handles rental cars and trucks under National Car Rental Ser-
Inter-city transportation was furnished for a number of years by
the Twin City Motor Coach Co., owned and operated by Patsy Celan-
tano. Bams and offices were at 317-319 West 2nd Street. This
company operated from the late 1930 's to the late 1940 's. But after
the war, when cars became more plentiful, the operation became
unprofitable and was discontinued.
All school bus and charter bus business in the area is operated
by Thomeway Lines Incorporated, owned by Orville Thome. This
business was begun in 1937 and is located on West 14th Street. It
began as a moving business and busses were added to the operation
The area also has many trucking firms which have terminals in
Rock Falls. Among them are theBrada Miller Freight System, Inc. ,
Garstenson Freight Lines Inc., Churchill Truck Lines, Inc., Dar-
ling Freight, Inc., General Cartage Co. Inc., Knox Motor Service,
Inc., Lambrecht Trucking Co. and Sims Motor Transport. All
these have terminals here and operate interstate. In addition, there
are many other smaller firms which operate from Rock Falls.
After the discontinuing of passenger service by the CB&Q, Rock
Falls has been dependent upon Sterling for train service by the
Northwestern Railroad. Even that has dwindled to only one train to
and from Chicago a day.
For several years, Trailways Bus Line operated through Rock
Falls between Peoria and Freeport. The Greyhound Line stops in
Sterling for bus passengers.
WHITESIDE COUNTY AIRPORT
The Rock Falls Airport was founded by Darhal Wolf and Kenny
Zimmerman at asite about three miles south ofRockFalls onRoute
88 . Later it was called Skaggs Field for Leonard Skaggs and his
great interest and work for an airport.
When the Sterling Airport decided to cease operations, the State
of Illinois felt there should be a County Airport. In 1946, a referen-
dum was held in Whiteside County and was passed. Federal and
State authorities deemed the site of Skaggs Field suitable for a
county airport. The ground was owned by Cecil Richardson and a
gift of ground by him made it possible for the county of Whiteside
to accept a state grant. Then, through the Department of Auero-
nautics in Springfield, the Federal Government participated and a
4000 foot paved runway was established. A hearing by the C.A.B.
determined that this community should be served by a common car-
rier. Ozark Airlines had their initial scheduled flight into theWliite-
side County Airport on December 1, 1962 with a DC 3. Now all
flights have the F.H. 227 turbo prop equipment.
Whiteside County Airport is one of the few ports in the Ozark
system that is served by an airfreighter. It makes a scheduled stop
every evening and tonnage out of this airport is about fifth out of the
58 stops of Ozark.
A new 5600 foot cross runway was finished in 1966, making pos-
sible, stops that occasionally had to be cancelled when there was
a cross wind.
Tlie City of Rock Falls
WILLETT. HOF MANN & ASSOCIATES
Airports . .. r r .. . Sewerage
Street Lighting ^ ^ Structural
Highways Water Works
809 E. Second Street Dixon, lllinob
On December 2, 1889, the Iowa Union Telephone Company asked
for a franchise to construct a telephone outside plant on the streets
and alleys in Rock Falls. The request was denied and not passed on
"in its present shape", on January 6, 1890. The Iowa Union Tele-
phone Company went ahead with construction work, with a promise
that a franchise would be granted. It was not until December 17,
1894, that the official franchise was granted.
Previous to this time, both the Central Union Telephone Com-
pany and the Interstate Telephone and Telegraph Company had es-
tablished open wire circuits across Rock River on top of the old
First Avenue iron bridge, to Rock Falls.
OnOctober 12, 1896, the Central Union Telephone Co. requested
a franchise to operate in Rock Falls, but the permit was not issued
by the city council until February 6, 1899. At this time, the Central
Union Telephone Co. took over the property of the Iowa Union Tel-
The Harrison Telephone Company was also operating in Rock
Falls without a franchise, and there were warm discussions on the
subject between telephone employees of both companies and the gen-
eral public. For instance, on the records of the minutes of a coun-
cil meeting of January 16, 1899, an order was requested that a
Central Union Telephone Co. instrument be removed from the city
clerk's office and installed in the electric light plant and a Harrison
Telephone Co. telephone be installed in the city clerk's office. Why?
No one knows. All of the above information is written into the min-
utes of the City of Rock Falls by the city clerk and signed by the
mayor and councimen.
In 1900, the Farmers Mutual Telephone Co. was operating a
small office upstairs at 207 West 2nd St. Mrs. Ted Williams was
the first operator. Later the office was moved to her residence on
Fifth Avenue. Mrs. Ada Beales (Glenn) became the operator in 1907
with the office on West Second Street above what is now Sowles Store.
The Farmers Mutual Telephone Company had about 40 subscribers
and had one-wire circuits built to the farmers south of Rock Falls
and into Tampico, Illinois. Mr. N.L. McKinzie was the manager
of the Telephone Company at that time. The office worked from 6
a.m. until 9 p.m. and only answered doctor calls after that time.
Mrs. Beales was the operator for four years.
January 6, 1916, the switchboard was removed from Rock Falls
and the phones were connected to the Tampico lines until September
1919. At that time they were taken over by the Northern Illinois
Bell Telephone Company, where they have remained.
Manufacmiring Establishments of Rdck Falls. Whiteside Co. Ill
AUTO BODY SHOP
KOOL KING Automatic Air Conditioners
BODY 8. FENDER WORK
WHEEL ALIGNMENT 8,
AUTO GLASS REPLACEMENT
CLYDE NELSON, Manager
1103 First Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois 61071
TOM KURTZ - Owner
1101 FIRST AVE., ROCK FALLS ILLINOIS
CONGRATULATIONS ROCK FALLS
BEELENDORPS FOOD MARKET
"May the next 100 years be as prosperous
as the past 100 years"
941 FIRST AVE. ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
PEBBLES ON THE BEACH OF BUSINESS PROGRESS
The life stream of any community is the business It enjoys. As
we look down through the pages of the past, we find many names who
have contributed to the life of the community in the business acti-
vity they carried on.
The nursery of W.E. Lukens preceded the organization of our
Rock Falls as a city. He purchased the site from Mr. Merrill in
1861 and improvements began the following year. The 11-1/2 acres
lie between what is now 5th and 6th Avenues, from Second Street
south to Fifth Street. The Luken's residence occupied the southwest
corner of Second Street and Sixth Avenue. The nursery went under
the name of "Coloma Nursery", and was described as one of the
most beautiful locations in the city. During the 70's, he offered for
sale, "8,000 Norway spruces for dooryards and hedges and 10,000
Scotch pines, the best groves or windbreaks on sandy soil". He had
apple and cherry trees and grape vines. Some of these spruce and
pine trees may still be seen in the neighborhood.
When the demands for lots increased, around 1875, Lukens de-
cided to lay out his nursery in town lots. In the fall of 1876, it was
platted and lots were offered for sale. He advertised these as choice
lots, complete with 40 to 50 feet of hedge, most with ornamental
and fruit trees thereon, where good wells of never-failing water can
be had with pump for $12 to $18, and entirely dry cellars. Prices
low and ample time given".
Dr. J.L. Morrill, the first physician in Rock Falls, bought the
first lot offered for sale by Lukens for $880 in 1876. He immedi-
ately built the house standing at 300 Fifth Avenue.
A.D. Hapgood, moved a building from Como in which he estab-
lished a general merchandise store in 1867. The store was not pro-
fitable. This building became part of the Baltic House, later known
as the Brewer House and was situated where the "Corner Tap" is
In 1867, Truman Culver erected a building on the corner of Sec-
ond Avenue and West Second Street. This was the first new business
building built in Rock Falls and Mr. Culver opened a grocery store
In 1868, Newton and Muckeridge came from Como and opened a
general merchandise store in a building erected across the street
north from the Culver Building. Mr. Muckridge, the next year,
returned to Como with the dry good business. Mr. Newton retained
the grocery store, later, about 1880, selling to A.C. Stanley.
The first drug store in Rock Falls was started in 1868 by the
grandfather of Dean Bickford, who was a well known Sterling drug-
gist for years. Goodell and Ingals opened a hardware store in 1868.
Ephriam Brookfield came to Rock Falls from Coleta and opened
the first bank in 1874.
The Bert Marfleet home, which was torn down and is now the
city parking lot, directly behind the Rock Falls School of Beauty,
was originally the Rock Falls House, one of Rock Falls early hotels.
As we move on into today's business world, we find some mem-
bers of our community who have been here from the early 1900's,
who are still carrying on today. Jacob Cantlin, Attorney-at-law,
came to Rock Falls in June 1907. He is a lawyer who has served
the community well for over 60 years, not only practicing law, but
also friendship as well. "Jake" has a host of friends in our commu-
nity. Mr. Cantlin was born in Williams, Iowa, January 5, 1885,
while his mother was visiting there. His permanent home was
Earlville. At 15, the family moved toTampico, where he completed
school. He graduated from the University of Illinois, School of Law
in 1906. He married Darlene West of Tampico, May 10, 1911 and to
this union, four daughters were born. Jacob has served as city at-
torney for a number of years. He has been active in community
affairs and one of the shining moments of "Jake's" careerwas pre-
siding as Interlocutor at the minstrel shows, which were produced
by the Business Association in the 40's and 50's.
The Johnston Lumber Company has a long period of service to
Rock Falls. The Wheeler-Brown Company was taken over by the
Johnston Family in 1907 and has been operated in the same location
for the past sbcty years. Robert E. Johnston was secretary-trea-
surer of the firm in Rock Falls, the company also having lumber
yards in other communities in this area. Mr. Johnston was born
April 21, 1877, near Galva, Illinois. In 1905, he married Alda
Born and they had four children. The youngest son. Gene, is now
head of the Johnston firm, which continues to serve the building
needs of our community.
Rubin is a familiar name to every resident of Rock Falls and has.
been a familiar name for over sixty years. "Joe" Rubin began bus-
iness in 1905, at 414 Second Avenue. First he did paperhanging and
sold dry goods . Later, he added cars to his line of merchandise,
when cars were still a novelty. At this time, he also began dealing
in scrap iron. In 1919, he moved to the present location on West
Second Street, where he added coal to his scrap iron business. Mr.
Rubin passed away in 1940. However, by this time, he had been
joined in business by his sons, Isadore and Milton, who have con-
tinued in the business. Coal and scrap iron have passed from exist-
ance as far as today's business is concerned, but Milt and Ike have
one of the largest used car lots in this area. Another son of Joe is
Louis Rubin, who is a well-knovm Dermatologist in Rockford, hav-
ing for his patients many Rock Falls folks. Another son, Samuel,
was an Attorney-at-law, having been associated with Mr. Cantlin
for a number of years. Sam died in the early 1960 's.
One of the most remembered treats to many old timers will be
a "Soda at Daniels". This firm has catered to sweet-tooth of many
a person over a long period of time. Peter Daniels came to Rock
Falls in 1910 and opened a confectionery store at 205 West Second
St. Peter died in 1919 enroute to his homeland, Greece and was
buried at sea. His son, Louis, ably carried on the Daniels Store
and the tradition of good candy until "Danny" was able to take his
place in the operation of the business. In 1928, the present location
was purchased from W.J. Sowles. Louis retired to Ft. Myers,
Florida in 1957. "Danny" still continues to operate the store at 215
West Second St. , known as Daniels Grill. During the winter months,
Danny still makes the delicious home-made candies for which the
firm has been famous. In fact, the piece of marble used to mix and
roll these toothsome goodies is the original piece brought from
Greece by Danny's father.
Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Sowles Sr. moved to Rock Falls, Illinois in
1905 and purchased the Hubbard and Morrison Grocery Store, lo-
cated in the building now occupied by the Crystal Barber Shop. Some
years later, they purchased the building just west and moved the
grocery store to this location -207 West Second Street, now occupied
by Daniel's Store. As the town developed, a number of citizens
formed a corporation under the name of W.J. Sowles Dry Goods
Co. and opened a dry goods and millinery store on First Avenue in
the building now being used by Illinois Kitchen Center. As a matter
of bringing the two business enterprises together, the building at
209 WestSecond St. was purchased from Claude Melvin and the gro-
cery store was moved one door west and the dry goods was moved
from First Avenue to 207 West Second St. An archway was cut be-
tween the two buildings and this operation existed for several years.
After considerable thought, Mr. Sowles decided to give all his
time to the dry goods business and enlarged the building at 209 West
Second St. and moved to this address.
Daniels Brothers purchased the former location at 207 West
Second St. and this building is still being used and operated as
In the year 1931, W.J. Sowles passed away and his son, then
employed at Bradley's Clothing Store in Sterling, Illinois, came to
Rock Falls and took over the operation of the store. As the depres-
sion clouds cleared and all business was improving, need for addi-
tional space brought about the purchase of the adjoining building to
the west, housing the Goldfuss Men's Clothing and Shoe Store. After
remodeling the building, the ready-to-wear department was enlarged
and moved into this building which is occupied at this time.
The need for an enlarged infant's and children's department was
very evident and the building at 213, owned by Joe Sullivan, became
available and was purchased for the above mentioned department.
Sowles Store now occupies 3 rooms, 209-211-213 West Second
St. and have had a continuous store operation in Rock Falls since
Daggett's is an old familiar name in Rock Falls. Daggett and
Fenn operated a partnership drug store in Prophetstown, and Fenn
operated a drug store in Rock Falls at 101 West Second St. In 1911,
the Prophetstown partnership dissolved andH. F. Daggett took over
the Rock Falls Store, which was in a corner of the Geyer Bldg. Be-
sides drugs, the store had a soda fountain, paints and clock and
watch repairs. Two names long associated with Daggett's was John
Dancey as Pharmacist and Ike Greene as watch repair man.
In 1938, the store moved across First Avenue to 203, in the
building which is owned by the Wheeler Estate. At this time, his
BAR DO DR UGS
DO YOU REMEMBER THESE?
Doctors & Druggists
Dr. J.E. Heiss
Dr. S.A. Allen
Dr. George Maxwell
Peoples Drug Store
Hendricks Drug Co.
A. E. Curtis Druggist
The Rexall Drug Store
R.L. Hoisted Druggist
Perry & Hoover Pharmacists
STAN BARDO Reg. Pharm.
203 1st Ave. Rock Falls, Illinois
Best Wishes to Rock Falls
1867 - 1967
No! We haven't been in business 100 years.
But we're proud to be a port of our city
celebrating 100 years.
M & M ELECTRIC
206 E. 7TH ST.
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
Best Wishes to the
City of Rock Falls
MYERS FORD SALES
LINCOLN - MERCURY
GIL COREY - General Mgr.
Locust Street Sterling, Illinois
Congratulations to Rock Falls
for Completing its 100th Year
of Great Success
COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE
H. A. DETWEILER AGENCY
202 E. 3RD STREET STERLING, ILLINOIS
H. F. Daggett, Geo. Curtis, Cop Saunders and a salesmen
son-in-law, Ross Lennox, joined the firm. Mrs. Lennox was the
former Helen Daggett. StanBardo purchased the drug store in 1946.
However, Ross retained the jewelry business and opened his first
store in 205-1/2 First Avenue. Mr. Daggett retired and passed
away in 1950. In 1956, a new building for the jewelry store was
opened at209SecondAvenue, across from the Rock Falls post office,
where it is still operated under the name of Daggett's Jewel Box.
S.E. Wheelock came to Rock Falls in 1913 from Manlius, Illi-
nois. Mr. Wheelock purchased the furniture store of F.H. Geyer,
located at the corner of First Avenue and West Second Street. He
did not confine his efforts to furniture alone, but operated a funeral
parlor in the same location. In 1936. Wheelock's opened a new
funeral home at the corner of First Avenue and 3rd Avenue, this
being known as Wheelock-AUen. Both sons. Jay Loomis and Elbert
K., helped in the funeral business as both were licensed morticians.
After Daggett's moved from the corner location, the furniture store
was completely remodeled in 1938, making a much larger store.
This store was destroyed by fire in 1950. The store was rebuilt on
the same location, being run by Jay Loomis and Elbert. S.E. Wheel-
ock died in 1944 and Jay Loomis passed away early this year, 1967.
Elbert still operates the furniture store.
The Moulton Drug Store has been in existance since early Rock
Falls, having first been A.L. Lemon Store. This business was pur-
chased by T.J. Wylie in 1910, who continued to operate the store
until his death in 1946. The Wylie Drug Store was a favorite hang-
out for the young crowd on Sunday afternoons when the soda fountain
was in full swing. Ray Moulton came to work for T.J. in 1925 and
upon the death of Mr. Wylie, he purchased the store in 1946. The
store still operates in the same location, having changed from an
old fashioned store to a modern self-service store without a soda
fountain. Mrs. Wylie is living in Moline with her daughter, Mrs.
The S & K Clothing Store has a long history of service in Rock
Falls, though not always under this familiar name. Eugene Gray
had a men's habadashery located next to Wheelock's on West Second
St. This location later became Mar-Jean Variety. It is now occupied
by the New Hurdle Hardware Store. Gene operated the men's store
for many years and later took his son Seth into business with him.
Seth moved the store into the Frank's Building at the northwest cor-
ner of First Avenue and West Second Street. Seth sold habadashery,
men's clothing and women's shoes. It seems Rock Falls has trouble
keeping a shoe store. Following World War H, Seth sold the cloth-
ing store to Albert Klocke and John Sumption, who operate the store
under the name of S and K, continuing to serve the community with
men and boys' wear. One of the improvements made during the past
year has been "A Big Wheel" shop, catering to boys' needs.
Longfellows' was a familiar name to many men and boys, and
yet, today we often hear someone say, I'm going down to "Jum's".
This billiard parlor is now known as Hudson and Schwab, operating
in the same location for over fifty years .
We would be remiss if we did not mention the Washburn Grocery
Store which was a Rock Falls landmark for many years. The Wash-
burn building still stands and is the location of "Tim's House of
Bargains". After the Washburn family gave up the store, it contin-
ued to be operated in the same manner by Russell Short. Changes
were not made until in the 1940's, when the Greer family bought the
store and completely renovated it.
Pippert's Market was also a land mark for many old timers,
having been operated as a meat market through three generations.
The market is now the location of the Ideal Cleaners. The last of
the Pippert Family, Colder, sold the store to Williams and Leaf,
upon his retirement. The picture here shows a display of fresh
meat carried in the market during the early 1900's.
A wagon shop was located in the building which is now the Com-
merce House. This wagon shop and blacksmith shop was run by
George Adair, and was sold to Ed Knabe, who operated a hardware
store and a sheet metal shop in this location for a number of years.
Upon the death of Mr. Knabe, his sons ran the business, with Paul
keeping the hardware section and "Bud" operating the heating de-
partment. When the building was sold to settle the estate of Mr.
Knabe, Paul closed out the hardware store and "Bud" continued
with the heating in another location. Since the close of Knabe's, the
building has been operated with two stores, one side being the Rock
Falls Gambles Store, owned by Clarence Bressler, and the other
the Commerce House, owned by Cal Triggs.
A number of businesses need to be mentioned, yet space does
not allow for us to go back through the years trying to find who has
been in business in Rock Falls. Some of the names that may have a
meaning are: Metzler Shoe Repair Shop, Terlizzi's Grocery,
Mower's Grocery, Lazios Confectionery, Vanetti's Confectionery,
Pignatelli's Confectionery -which was operated by a brother of our
present Mayor, Louis Pignatelli, Chris Scheler Implements, Clap-
per Poultry House, McBeth Liquor Store, Leuschke's Modem Pastry
Shop, Kelsey's Harness Shop, E.U. Taylor Hardware, Tehans Gro-
cery, Klocke Bros. Saloon, Ed Limind Cigar Store, Stanley and
Stanley Grocery and Bakery, Whitney Hotel, Pippert Hotel, Gudeman
Grocery, Van Drew Co., Garardi Grocery, Bonardi Shoe Shop,
Goldfuss Economy Store, Teach Blacksmith Shop, Teach and Bracken
Blacksmiths, Pollock's Variety Store, Roxy Theatre, Strand The-
atre, Schofield Saloon, E. Pichiotti Confectionery, Worman's Shoe
Shop, Ted's Barbershop, Glenn Beales Barber and many many more
who were active in Rock Falls.
Though less than fifty years old, we have a number of businesses
which have been established in one generation and is now moving on
into the second. . .Oilman's Grocery was purchased by Louis Oltman
from Jens Johannsen in 1923, in the area then known as Garden City.
Mr. Oltman passed away in 1937 and his daughter Leona, with the
assistance of her brother Herman, operated the store. In 1947,
Leona married Ray Ruckdeschel and he too, entered the grocery
business, having been in merchandising in Chicago before coming
to Rock Falls. In 1953, Ray and Leona bought Herman's share of
the business and the store is still operating in the same location
under the name of Ray's Certified Grocery.
Frank Seward came to Rock Falls in 1931. He purchased a small
store and filling station at the corner of Wesi Fifth Street and Elev-
enth Avenue. During World War II, Frank rebuilt the building and
enlarged his store, which he continues to operate today with the
help of his wife, Esther. The last gas pump from the station was
removed about three years ago.
The Hurdle Hardware Store opened for business in Rock Falls
Plumbincf & Heating
"Serving the Community
for 30 years"
LOREN WECKESSER - OWNER
1003 14TH AVE.
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
COMPLIMENTS TO ROCK FALLS FROM
SERVING THE NATION'S LIBRARIES
Heckman's Custom Library Binding
Free Pickup and Delivery in 25 States - Regulc
THE HECKMAN BINDERY, INC. 4$i^
NORTH MANCHESTER, INDIANA 46962 '^Sss^'
Congratu ations Rock Fal s
ROCK FALLS LUMBER & SUPPLY CO.
FOR — quality, service, price
p ease — YOU — can depend on
Route ^30 & 71-h Avenue, Rock Falls, Illinois
in 1925. "Gar" Hurdle came to Rock Falls from Polo, where he had
been in the hardware business. He purchased Rosengren and Shel-
don Hardware, located at 221 West Second Street. "Gar" tells us a
fire started in the store one very very cold night, when it was about
5 below zero^ and when the fire was extinguished and damages were
assessed, it was decided to move to a new location, which was at
the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street. Mr. Hurdle is pre-
sently the oldest business man on the street. His son John, now
actively operates the business and perhaps before this booklet is
finished, will have moved into his new location at 105 West Second
St., which will about double the capacity of the present hardware
Rock Falls has a history of two Rock Falls dairies, the first be-
ing begun byGeorge Hendryx in 1915. This started on a farm on the
Buell Road and later was moved to the large farm property just
south of what is now Route 30 and on Route 88, or the Colder Road.
Hey Brothers bought the dairy in 191S.
The second Rock Falls Dairy was established in 1932. Peter
Kaup, who was experienced in the dairy business, came here from
Chicago and opened business in the building which still stands at the
corner of West Second Street and Fourth Avenue. This building is
now owned and occupied by the Eagles Lodge. This soon became too
small for their operation and they moved to 105 East Third Street,
where they continued to grow, finally in 1948, building a new mo-
dern plant at 1301 West Second Street. With the completion of the
new plant, they started the manufacture of ice cream, which they
still do and which is served at their dairy bar. Peter Kaup passed
away in 1966. However, Henry and Elizabeth Kaup are still operat-
ing the business which their father started. Mrs. Kaup is still living.
The Hill Electric Company is nearing the fifty year mark. Max
Hill began an electric shop in 1925 in the old Teach Blacksmith Shop,
located on West Second Street. From there, he moved to the Mower
Building on First Avenue and then to a brick building which was lo-
cated across from the Rock Falls Congregational Church, now the
site of the Rock Falls National Bank. This was a new building in
1933. However, as the company grew and expanded, the building
grew and expanded with it, until today it occupies two full store
fronts. Max is gradually retiring from thecomapny, whose business
ir motor rewinding and switchboard work. Max has trained Robert
Sanduskey, who is keeping the Hill Company going.
Another Hill name which has become well known in Rock Falls
recently, is Gary P. Hill, son of Max, who is in the real estate
business and has built a beautiful modern office on the location of
the Par Whitney property on First Avenue.
The Humphrey Insurance Agency was started here in 1939 by
Otis Humphrey. Otis and his wife Lucille, came here from Morri-
son, Illinois. They started business in the old Culver Building,
which is now one of the Kadle Buildings, from there moving to a
large office over the Rock Falls National Bank, when it was located
at the corner of First Avenue and West Second Street. When their
son. Dale, finished schooling, he entered the business with his
parents and they now have an office on the ground floor at 209 First
Avenue. Mr. Humphrey passed away in March of this year. The
business is continuing under the guidance of Mrs. Humphrey and
Dr. Glenn J. Pohly came to Rock Falls in 1931 to begin his
practice of medicine. His first office was located on Second Avenue,
next to the Rock Falls Post Office. Moving from there to the old
Rock Falls Bank Building on West Second Street. Dr. Pohly has had
a long continuous service in Rock Falls. Dr. Pohly graduated from
North Central College of Liberal Arts and received his medical de-
gree from Northwestern Medical School. For contributions he made
to the Research Hospital during the war years, he was made a mem-
ber of the staff. He has had commendation from five presidents for
his continuous service to the Whiteside County Selective Service
Board, as a medical examiner.
He is active in civic, church and school affairs. He is past pres-
ident of the Whiteside County Medical Association, served 3 terms
as Chief of Staff at Community General Hospital, is a member of the
American Medical Association and the Academy of General Prac-
tice. He has been health officer of Rock Falls for many years and
is still serving in this capacity.
He is a past president of Sterling-Rock Falls Chamber of Com-
merce, past president of Rock Falls Rotary, Salvation Army and
YMCA Board. He is a charter member of the Sunday Evening Club
and is still serving on same. A member of the Methodist Church,
he has served the church in many capacities.
Dr. Pohly has this year moved into a new office, located at 815
Dr. Ahrens, Optometrist, has been in Rock Falls a long time
and is now located in the building which is also occupied by Dr.
Fonder, who is an Orthodonist. This building is located next to
Ideal Cleaners and makes a good professional building for Rock Falls .
Another professional building is located at 105 Dixon Avenue,
where Dr. Jack Alter and Dr. Hubbard have offices. Moving east
on Dixon Avenue across the canal bridge, we have a professional
building which is occupied by Dr. Wilkin, dentist. Dr. DeWeerth,
dentist and Drs. Tom and John McDonald. Dr. Tom McDonald came
to Rock Falls to take over the practice which had been Dr. Allen's.
The newest addition to our business community was built about
1960, when Robert Wilkins purchased the "Pine Grove", which be-
longed to the Oltman family, and on it constructed the "Pine Grove
Shopping Center". This consists of a huge supermarket, a restaur-
ant, bakery, self-service laundry and dry cleaning plant. About two
years ago, a new building was added to the unit which is now the
location of the "Scott" Variety Store. There is off street parking
for about 250 to 300 cars and entrances can be gained from First
Avenue or from West 12th Street. This new addition to the business
life of the community continues to keep us growing and improving.
BANKING IN ROCK FALLS
Rock Falls' first bank was established in October 1874 and was
called the Exchange Bank. The founder was Ephraim Brookfield of
Coleta, who managed the bank for about two years and because of
illness turned his interests over to George W. Nance, who had
worked in the bank from its beginning. It is not known how long this
bank operated or when it ceased operations .
However, sometime prior to the 1900's, the Lund Brothers and
Sophus Richards organized and opened the First National Bank. It
was located in the Culver Building and derived its capital from
Minnesota. The president of the bank was O.E. Maxon until 1911
when L. P. McMillan took over the management as its executive of-
ficer. He bought two old frame buildings on the north side of West
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McNEIL ROAD. ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
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Yi Mile East of Route 88 Junction
Second Street, demolished them and built the building which now
houses the State of Illinois Unemployment Office. In its new quar-
ters, the bank prospered through the early 1900's, but it too, was
doomed to be caught in the web of economic decline which started
with the stodk market crash in 1929 and carrying through the next
three years of business decline and bank failures. On June 6, 1932,
the First National Bank of Rock Falls closed its doors and went Into
receivership, being liquidated over a period of several years. When
the building was offered for sale, a group of businessmen banded
together with the intention of purchasing the building and starting a
new bank in the interest of the community. However, they were un-
successful in securing the property and Rock Falls was without its
own banking facilities until the Rock Falls Business Association
came into being. This organization decided that a bank in Rock Falls
seemed best for the welfare of the community. An application was
filed, a charter was granted, and on November 23, 1945, Rock Falls
National Bank opened its doors at 201 First Avenue, the former lo-
cation of Terlizzi's Grocery Store. The first officers were: William
J. Sowles, president, Henry N. Kaup, vice president, Frank J.
Reichardt, executive vice president and William J. Keenan, cashier.
Directors were: William J. Sowles, Henry N. Kaup, Danny P. Dan-
iels, Jay L. Wheelock, Otis J. Humphrey, Arthur J. Franks, W.
Wilson King, Max A. Hill and Joe N. Sullivan. Fifteen years later,
with deposits in excess of $5 million, the Congregational Church
and parsonage was purchased and demolished and a modern one-
story bank building was erected and on February 1, 1960, the bank
moved into its new quarters at 300-302 First Avenue. Rock Falls
National Bank is now a $10 million bank with the following directors
and officers: William J. Sowles, president, Henry N. Kaup, vice
president, Frank J. Reichardt, executive vice president, Danny P.
Daniels, Arthur J. Frank, Max A. Hill, Elbert K. Wheelock. Ad-
ditional officers are William J. Keenan, cashier, Miss Pauline
Howe and Gilbert Moothart, assistant cashiers.
SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS IN ROCK FALLS
In 1887, another financial institution was in existence in Rock
Falls in the form of a Building and Loan Association. A.C. Stanley
was president; Robert McNeil, vice president; Isaac Bush, secre-
tary and James Pettigrew, treasurer. History records a similar
association or perhaps a continuation of this earlier one in 1896 and
1897, with Mayor R.L. Leitch as its president. What happened to
these early institutions is not known, but by the early 1900's, neith-
er were in operation any longer. In 1962, a group of business and
professional men decided that a building and loan association would
be feasible on the Rock Falls side of the river. Accordingly, the
Rock Falls Savings and Loan Association was organized and char-
tered as a state savings and loan association. This organization has
had a fine growth under the founding and present officers: John M.
Dillon, president; Ray H. Pettit, vice president; Dr. Leroy Dan-
reiter, secretary; Merrill M. Benson, assistant secretary; John
Lawrence, assistant, secretary; Calvin L. Morgan, assistant sec-
retary; William E. Hill, Jr., treasurer and Kennard J. Besse,
STONE INSURANCE AGENCY
The Stone Insurance Agency was founded in 1906 by Mr. W.T.
Stone in Rock Falls, Illinois, who owned and operated the agency
until the time of his death in March of 1938. At this time, his son,
Mr. Kenneth Stone took over the Agency and operated it until Feb-
ruary 1, 1940. It was then sold to Mr. George H. Stone. (Mr.
George Stone was no relation to W.T., But retained the Stone repu -
tation. Mr. George H. Stone operated the agency until March 1,
1959 when it was then sold to the present owners, Mr. William F.
Klock and Mr. Lyle M. Book. The agency has grown steadily and
is now one of the largest agencies in this area, handling most all
types of insurance coverage.
THE ROARING PRESS
The history of any community would not be complete without
some mention of the printed word. Today, we have television and
radio, yet the power of the press is undisputed.
In the early days of our town, many attempts were made to es-
tablish newspapers. The Rock Falls Progress began publication in
1870. Cadwell and Tuttle were the publishers. However, due to the
continued illness of Mr. Cadwell, the paper ceased publication seven
A.J. Booth and Co. publishers came to Rock Falls from Morri-
son in 1876. They published the Whiteside Times and also published
a city directory in 1877, numerous copies of which are still about.
They continued publication of the paper until May 1878 when they
leased the office to Hyde and Searle, who continued for one more
Elmer Searle of the firm of Hyde and Searle, started publication
of Searle Times, with Cadwell and Tuttle doing the printing. The
paper was short lived, dying after three months of publication.
The "Ensign of Liberty" was the next publication, starting Feb-
ruary 25, 1879. J.M. Foley was editor, again Cadwell and Tuttle
printed the paper. Within three months it too, died a natural death.
Rock Falls had been without a newspaper for sometime when the
Rock Falls News began publication on July 5,1882 by Capt. William
Parker. In 1884, his daughter, Anna F. became his associate. Two
years later, she married Charles Lee Mentzer, who purchased a
half interest in the business. They then purchased the building at
the corner of Third Avenue and Second Street which burned on Jan-
uary 3, 1896. A new outfit was ordered and publication was resumed
in the Industrial Building. Capt. Parker sold his interest to Emery
L. Bond in 1907 and Mentzer and Bond formed the News Publishing
Co. with E.L. Bond as president and Anna Mentzer as secretary.
The paper ceased publication about 1913.
Another Rock Falls News began publication in 1917 or 1918. It
too, was unsuccessful financially, and shortly after the armistice,
Between 1918 and 1936, there were seven attempts made to es-
tablish papers in Rock Falls with each one ending in failure.
In 1936, a weekly mimeograph shopper was started in Rock Falls
by Jack Adair. He named it "Rock Falls News", from the original
paper started by Capt. Parker. Miss Verna Bruns went to work for
him in 1937 and married her boss in 1943. Jack was very active in
local civic affairs, helping to promote Rock Falls through the Rock
Falls News. He passed away in 1959. Mrs. Adair kept the paper
going and in 1963, married Donald C. Ward. The paper has changed
to offset printing and is now called Rock Falls Shopping News, ser-
vicing the entire Rock Falls area and its rural routes through 31
years of service.
The Rock Falls Record began publication on May 1, 1947. This
weekly was edited by Jerry Gamel. In 1948, it was incorporated by
a group of local business men with Mr. Gamel remaining as editor.
They purchased their own equipment and printed the paper locally.
In 1949, B.F. Shaw of Dixon, purchased the paper. The Shaw Co.
published a paper twice a week. They discontinued publication in
March of 1951.
Rock Falls area has been well serviced through the years by the
Daily Gazette, which is published in Sterling. The Gazette was es-
tablished in 1854, withD.W. Grandon as founder. It is still operated
by the Grandon family. Their generosity to all local projects is
The Rockford Morning Star also gives daily news coverage to
many homes in Rock Falls.
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At present, Rock Falls is without a movie theater. But this has
not always been so. It Is believed the first movie house in Rock
Falls was the Nickelodeon, operated by E.F. Vlering In the early
1900's. It ws(s located in one of the old buildings later torn down to
make room for the First National Bank.
During the 1910's and 1920's, Al Berlin (who, during a long and
varied career, operated restaurants, confectionery stores, taxicabs
and was Chief of Police of Rook Falls), had two theaters in Rock
Falls. The Lyric Theater at 203 First Avenue and the Grand Theater
in the old Schofield Building at 311 West 2nd St. This building was
destroyed by fire in 1966 and has been replaced by a new brick
structure. During this period. Sterling had a Blue Law, which for-
bade movies on Sunday. The Lyric was unable to accomodate the
crowds and Mr. Berlin then opened the Grand. Both of these thea-
ters were closed by the late 1920's.
Later, the Fields opened the Roxy Theater at 221 West 2nd St.
This was purchased by the Kontos ' in 1937 and was operated by them
until 1956. Drive-in movies and television spelled the death knell
to many such small town movie houses .
Left to Right in Top Row: Am
^Walton, C. Nichols,
Will Grater, Fr
CORN CARNIVALS BIG EVENTS IN ROCK FALLS
The corn carnivals held for ten consecutive years from 1910 to
1919, were the biggest events of that period and of almost any per-
iod since. They were sponsored by the merchants and interested
individuals. These big festivals were held in the fall of the year and
drew thousands of people to Rock Falls from miles around. They
really put Rock Falls on the map in those good old days .
The streets, store fronts and city buildings were gaily decorat-
ed in harvest style at corn carnival time. Sheaves, stalks and ears
of corn decorated every building. Farmers brought in samples of
their grain, vegetables and poultry to be exhibited and to compete
for the blue and red prize ribbons to be awarded by the corn carni-
val association. The housewives vied with one another for prizes in
the displays of fancy goods, cakes, breads and other delicacies of
the culinary art.
Besides the exhibits, there were numerous free attractions, the
merry-go-round, ferris-wheel, all kinds of novelty, food booths,
side shows and lots of other things to make a good time for every-
body. Balloon ascensions every afternoon were big features of com
The first corn carnival opened Wednesday, September 28, 1910.
Schools were let out part of the time so the students could join in
the festivities. On Thursday, considerable excitement was caused
when the balloon caught on fire and burned up. The next day, a new
balloon arrived and made a fine ascension.
A large horse show was held and was a huge success . Another
big feature was the baby show, where 105 babies were shown and
six prizes awarded to the best babies.
At the 1911 show, which began on Wednesday, September 27,
114 babies competed for prizes.
At the 1912 corn carnival, balloon ascensions were again held.
High Dive stunts were also a big feature of the show and 112 babies
were entered in the baby contest.
In 1913, auto day was one of the big attractions. The biggest
baby show in the history was held, with 176 babies entered.
In 1914, auto races were a big event and the baby parade was
also held with autos. 130 babies were in the baby show.
The following years, the carnival was very successful with
many of the above events being very popular. It is probably one of
the most photographed events in the history of Rock Falls with hun-
dreds of pictures being taken each year and thousands of copies of
them being sold.
In 1935, there was a revival of the Corn Carnival, sponsored by
the Volunteer Fire Department. The Woman's Club sponsored the
ladies exhibits with ribbons for the winners in the culinary arts and
The Volunteer Fire Department, over several years of holding
com carnivals and raffling off tickets for a new car, which was
given awayon thelast nightof the carnival, raised money with which
they purchased an ambulance. This was for community use. These
carnivals continued until about 1939, when they again were abandoned.
In the window says
When the frost is on the pumpkin
And the fodders in the shock
Then's the time to get your furniture
From Geyer's Fail ond Winter stock.
DONALD C. WARD,
B.D. ■ Pastor
of Rock Falls
''Serving the People of
Rock Falls for 88 Years''
DONALD M. PROCTOR - Minister
Rock Falls, Illinois
Roeii Falls, Illinois
Pastor - The Rev. Fred N. Anderson
The Method! St s of Rock Falls have span-
ned almost all of the century that the City
of Rock Falls has been in existence. They
were organized as a Class in 1868-69. The
first church building was begun in 1869.
The parsonage was built in 1872. In 1921
the church building burned to the ground
and the present brick structure was built.
An educat ional unit was added in 1961.
We pray that the City of Rock Falls and
all of its churches shall deserve another
century of useful service.
''Pioneers in Faith in Rock Falls''
1877 - 1967
E.A. HENRICHS - PASTOR
501 8th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
Rock Falls, over the years, has not been without its fair share
of great and near-great performers in the wide world of sports.
The city has had numerous, fine, young athletes who have reach-
ed fame (if not fortune) through their perservering, all-out endeav-
ors in their particular chosen sport.
How many towns the size of Rock Falls can boast of having had
a world boxing champion? Or one of the nation's first professional
football players? Or a man so interested in, devoted to, and active
in baseball as to become practically a legend in his own lifetime?
Or a man so highly esteemed by his fellowmen for his untiring ef-
forts in promoting good, clean sportsmanship among the younger
generation that a stadium is named in his honor? Or the favorable
recognition this city has been accorded through many of these young
athlete's participation in rugged Big Ten competition?
Couple all the above personalities with the many outstanding
football and basketball teams Rock Falls High School has produced
over the years and you have a pretty composite picture of just how
well Rock Falls measures up to any other city of comparable size
when it comes to having representation in the sports world.
On this and subsequent pages, is presented a brief biography of
a few of these athletes, inclusive of well deserved mention of a few
of the stellar teams they helped immortalize in the hearts of their
One Rock Falls resident who literally fought his way up the lad-
der of success, was the late Linto Guerrieri. Guerrieri was bom in
Cherry, Illinois on November 11, 1915 and passed away in Rock
Falls on February 12, 1966.
The ladder of fame - if not fortune - started for Linto in Golden
Gloves elimination bouts staged in Sterling, Rockford, Chicago and
New York City, where he bested all aspiring-to-champions from
this country and Europe to become the 1937 light heavyweight Gol-
den Gloves Amateur Boxing Champion of the world.
Naturally, Linto was not only the toast of Rock Falls and Sterl-
ing, but of the entire State of Illinois for the laurels he acquired in
the prize-fight ring that year.
For some unnaccountable reason, Linto never did turn profes-
sional, although he almost did have an encounter with a gentleman
of the ring who became quite famous about that era. From that 'al-
most encounter' stems one of Linto 's favorite yarns:
It seems that the Chicago tournament would have pitted the Rock
Falls fighter against a fellow whose name would soon become world
famous in boxing circles . However, at the last minute before the
scheduled bout, another fighter was substituted and was easily de-
feated by Guerrieri.
To his dying day, Linto humorously maintained that it certainly
was a lucky break for "that other fighter" that night. Otherwise, he
always laughingly said, no one would probably have ever heard of
one of the greatest boxing craftsman the world has ever known.
The name of that 'lucky' person? You guessed it . . . Joe Louis!
Carlo A . Pignatelli
Carlo A. Pignatelli, a son of Francesco and Reginalda Pignatelli,
was born in Rock Falls, Illinois on November 25, 1907. He died on
June 13, 1964.
Carl was an outstanding athlete in both high school and college.
A member of the class of 1926 of Rock Falls High School, he was
an all-around athlete and played four years of brilliant varsity foot-
ball and basketball .
In 1926, Carl entered Iowa University at Iowa City, Iowa, on a
basketball scholarship. At Iowa University, he was so outstanding
in football that he gave up basketball. From 1927 through 1930, he
played on the great Iowa football teams coached by Burt Ingwerson.
After graduating from Iowa University, Carl became one of the
first professional football players in the nation. He played for the
Ironton Tanks (later the Cleveland Indians) of fronton, Ohio. The
general manager of the Ironton Tanks was Frank Lane.
The "Howe" Story
A man who became practically a legend in this community in his
own lifetime, was Roy "Slim" Howe of south Route 88, Rock Falls.
Reading "Slim's" biography can almost be compared to reading a
page from baseball's "Who's Who".
Born August 12, 1883, in Rogersville, Tennessee, Roy was one
of six brothers and one sister. Coming to Rock Falls at the age of
19, Roy worked on numerous local farms during the summer months
and for the old Keystone factory here in Rock Falls during the win-
Sunday, however, was his day to play ball and he could always
be found on some sandlot with the "boys" pursuing his favorite
pastime - baseball.
In 1907, he married Gertrude Frank, the daughter of Theodore
Frank, and they settled on a farm just south of the canal bridge on
Route 88, where they lived happily together until Roy's tragic and
untimely death in 1955. To this marriage, which lasted within a
couple of months of a golden one, were born 15 children - nine boys
and six girls.
In his youth "Slim" had quite a reputation as a baseball pitcher
and whenever a tough team came into the area the local teams would
always get Roy to take over the mound chores for the local team. A
few of the local men he played baseball with in those days were: Joe
and Bill Killian, Hub and Joe Schoaf, Les Devine and Stub Dietz.
When his pitching days were over, he started helping the younger
boys in the area. In 1934, he and his sons built the ball park on his
farm known as Howe's Field. Never was Roy too busy with the farm
work to help a beginner or to participate in some manner in a ball
i*:i ' (ia
The Montmorency Blues
From left to right, top row: Clorence McCarthy, Edword Dietz, T. Miller.
Middle row: Louis Dietz, Lawrence Kelly, John McComiick, Noah Heckel.
Seated: Roy "Slim" Howe, Donald Howe and Tony Morgue.
In 1938, the first of his sons made a try for fame in baseball
when Robert and William participated in the Minor Leagues; Bob
with the Yankee Farms and Bill with the Cardinal Farms. Then
came the rumble of World War H and most of the Minor Leagues
started to disband for lack of players as the boys started to leave
for the service.
Gertrude and Roy Howe contributed more than their fair share
in the Great Conflict, having seven sons in World War n and one
in the Korean Conflict.
In 1942, Calvin Howe, then only 17 years old, was signed by the
Chicago Cubs and went to the Kitty League for a short time, but it
closed down shortly and he finished the season with the Wise State
League, and so ended the young Howe's careers in baseball until
after the war.
In the meantime, however, there was always a team at Howe's
Field known as Howe's All Stars. The roster included boys home on
leave, fellows too young for the service and older men in the com-
In 1947, the Chicago Cubs hired "Slim" as a baseball scout in
this area, a position he held for many years. Over the years, he
signed several boys from this area to Cub contracts, including Dean
Stone of the Tri-Cities, who played about six years with the Wash-
ington Senators and the Minnesota Twins as a pitcher, and, of
JAMES F. RYAN
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course, his son Calvin, who had a short stay with the Cubs in 1952.
He also signed Doug Unger, Howard McCormick, Blase Zera, Gene
Taribelda of Rockford and his other son, John Kadel.
According to son Bill, "Slim's" greatest thrill in life probably
came on Augfist 18, 1948, when area fans gave John and Calvin a
"Howe's Night" at Riverview Ball Park in Clinton, Iowa. As left
handed pitching stars, Cal won 18 and lost 4, while brother John
won 17 and lost only 6 that season, while playing with the Clinton
Cubs of the Central League.
In Bill's words: "The ball park was jammed full of people that
night, with about 95 per cent from Rock Falls and Sterling, when
the master-of-ceremonies requested over the public address sys-
tem for "Slim" and Gert to come down to home plate for the gift
presentation. "Slim", tall and straight, showed somewhat of a chest
JohnK. broke his pitching arm at the end of the 1948 season and
had to give up baseball. Cal continued until 1957 before retiring.
Ted played two years in the minors and then umpired for several
more years, advancing to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, be-
fore he also retired. Bob continued in baseball for several years
after the war before settling on a farm in South Carolina.
Slim remained active in baseball until a freak farm accident
claimed his life on September 13, 1955. A storm had blown a tree
down on a 4300 volt service line on the farm and he and his sons,
Tom and Ted, were trying to control the ensuing fire, when the
family dog ran past them and into the high voltage wires. Helpful
till the end, Roy in attempting to save the dog's life, accidently
touched the downed wires, costing him his own life.
Hinder's Memorial Field
In the fall of 1963, Hinder's Memorial Field was named after
Lloyd A. Hinders. What sort of a person must an individual be to
be deserving of such an honor? Most of us remember him as a fine
teacher, a great coach and, at the time of his death, the Athletic
Director of Rock Falls High School. In these capacities, he always
displayed akeensenseof loyality, competition, perseverance, pride
Perhaps a few lines from a speech Lloyd was preparing, just
before his untimely decease, for delivery at the Montmorency Grade
School Sports Banquet, may lend an insight into just what kind of a
fellow he really was. We quote from these notes, found in his pick-
et by his wife Dorothy:
"As an athlete, you represent your home, your school and your
community. Play with a 'never say die' spirit, do your best and this
is all that can be asked of you. Above all, play fair, for if the world
needs anything in sports, fair players are needed the most."
One of Lloyd's favorite statements when asked. how things were
going, was: "We're doing good -but let's do better!"
Lloyd A. Hinders was bornMay 12, 1910 in Forreston Township,
Ogle County, the son of Allen and Elizabeth Moring Hinders . He
attended the Shannon grade and high schools. He received his bach-
elor of Arts and Science degree in North Central College, Naper-
ville, Illinois in 1932, and was awarded his Master's degree from
the University of Iowa on February 1, 1947.
From 1932 to 1934, he was an assistant instructor in hygiene
and track coach at North Central College. During those three years,
his teams won the IIAC track and field championships. The next
two years were spent in St. Luke's private school for boys at Canaan,
On November 26, 1936, he was united in marriage with Miss
Dorothy Nesemeyer, at which time the young couple moved to Rock
Falls where he taught and coached at Merrill School.
During his seven years at Merrill Grade School, his teams
entered the state basketball tournaments numerous tunes, finishing
in second place on two occasions. For years, he supervised play in
the parks during the summer months.
In the fall of 1943, he became head of Social Studies at Rock
Falls High School, as well as head basketball coach and assistant
football coach. During this time, he helped produce many outstand-
ing athletes and Rock Falls always had powerful teams on both the
basketball court and the gridiron. In 1951, he dropped coaching to
become athletic director of Rock Falls High School.
Mr. Hinders was instigator of baseball in Rock Falls High School,
and under his supervision in athletics, he saw many excellent teams
developed, including the 1957-58 basketball team that finished run-
nerup to Marshall of Chicago in the Illinois State Tournament.
Hinders was quite an outstanding sports figure in his own right,
as witnessed by the following exploits: In 1928, while a junior in the
Shannon High School, he and Lamoine Boyle formed a two-man track
team, representing that school and won the Sterling Township High
School Invitational Track and Field championships . He was captain
of the track team in his senior year at North Central College and
starred in track, plus participating in intermural basketball and
football. He is still believed to hold the college discus record for
North Central at 141 feet, 5 inches. In 1931, he placed sixth in the
national septathlon at the Illinois Relay Carnival.
It was through his untiring efforts that Little League was insti-
tuted in Rock Falls . In addition to being a charter member of the
Rock Falls Optimist Club, Lloyd also served in the capacity of past
president of the local chapter, as well as Lt. Governor of the State
and National organization.
Mr. Hinders passed away April 1, 1963, leaving behind, his
wife Dorothy and one son, Mark, who reside at 1005 LeRoy Avenue,
Kenneth F. Siebel
Kenneth F. Siebel, Jr., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Siebel,
formerly of 813 LeRoy Avenue, Rock Falls, now residing on Min-
eral Springs Road, Sterling, was born on February 19, 1941 in
Ken attended both Merrill Grade and Junior High Schools. He
was a member of the eighth grade basketball team that placed third
in the grade school state tournament. Upon graduation. Ken was
awarded the American Legion Award by Rock Falls Legion Post 902.
He attendedRock Falls High School 1955 through 1959, where he
participated in football, basketball and track for four year - inclu-
sive of three years of varsity competition.
The highlight of his high school athletic days was during his
junior year when the basketball team, coached by Dick Haselton,
placed second to Marshall High School of Chicago in the State Bas-
ketball Tournament at Champaign.
The versatile young man establLshed a number of records at
R.F.H.S. and a new Sterling Field House record of 50 points in a
single game. He was chosen on the first team in the North Central
Conference, the Associated Press All-Tournament team and the
In his senior year. Ken was valedictorian of his graduating class,
in addition to receiving the best all-round student award and the
Ken decided to attend the University of Wisconsin on a combin-
ation academic-athletic scholarship where he received his B.B.A.
and Masters of Business Administration Degrees.
He played three years of varsity basketball, as guard and for-
ward while attending the University of Wisconsin.
Numerous honors were accorded Ken while at the University. He
was co-captain his senior year, played in the East-West game, was
chosen for the Pan American trials and set a new scoring record
for three years of competition.
The highest honor accorded Ken, was being chosen the Most
Valuable Basketball Player at Wisconsin for three years in succes-
sion, an honor which no other eager in the history of Wisconsin has
The greatest thrill of his college sport's career was the upset
win over Ohio State, 86 to 67, at the time the Buckeyes were named
on all press polls as the nation's top-ranked team.
May 1, 1963, the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce sponsored
a banquet at R.F.H.S. honoring Ken, at which time, they present-
ed him with a citation for his outstanding marks as both an athlete
and a scholar.
Ken has continued his basketball career to some extent, playing
for several different amateur teams and has made trips to Madrid,
Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina to participate in various tourna-
Ken is presently living in San Francisco and is associated as a
registered representative, with Smith, Barney and Company, a
leading investment banking and brokerage firm, where he covers
Hawaii periodically for the company.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ROCK FALLS CENTENNIAL
Mrs. Lloyd Thome
809 Avenue A Rock Falls, Illinois
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Jack Skelton, Owner
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Gary Kolb, the son of Josephine and the late Ernest Kolb, was
born in Rock Falls on March 13, 1940 and was a permanent resident
here until 1960, when he signed a professional baseball contract
with the St. Louis Cai'dinals.
Gary took part in both basketball and track during his years in
Rock Falls Junior High School. The Lightweight Basketball Team,
on which he played, finished 4th in the state tournament.
Gary earned 11 varsity letters while attending Rock Fulls High
School; four in baseball, three in basketball and two each in track
and football. He gained All-Conference and All-State teams in both
football and basketball.
Rock Falls residents will forever remember the 1958 Rocket
Basketball team that finished second to Marshall High School of
Chicago in the final game of the State Basketball Tournament at
Champaign, and brought our fair city state-wide recognition. Gary
was a regular starting guard on that memorable team.
As a track performer, Gary still holds the Rock Falls High
School 100-yard dash record, which he set in 1957. As a pitcher
for the high school baseball team during the summer months, he
recorded two no-hitters.
The young athlete is always quick to point out that he learned a
great amount about sports and sportsmanship while attending Rock
Falls High School from such fine instructors and coaches as the late
Lloyd Hinders, Bruce McDonald, Richard Haselton and Walter Har-
dy, all who have contributed so much to his athletic success.
After considering countless offers from numerous colleges, Gary
decided to attend the University of Illinois. He was strongly influ-
enced in his decision by Mr. and Mrs. C. Deane Frary of Prophets-
town, who have helped in guiding him throughout his college days.
At Illinois, he lettered in both football and baseball and it was
here that he was scouted by professional baseball clubs and was
later signed to a bonus contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960 .
Gary spent most of the 1960, 1961 and 1962 baseball seasons in
the Minor Leagues. He moved up to the Cardinals in 1963 and played
on the Cardinal team that gave the Dodgers a battle for the pennant,
before losing out in the last few games. He was traded to the Mil-
waukee Braves at the start of the 1964 season and spent two months
at Denver, Colorado of the Pacific Coast League, before joining the
Braves in June. He remained with the Milwaukee Braves before be-
ing sold to the New York Mets in July 1965.
In 1966, he spent the season at Jacksonville, Florida as a Player-
Coach. In December of 1966, he was traded to the Pittsburg Pirates.
Gary has spent over three years in the Major Leagues since signing
in May of 1960 .
While playing for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, of the Eastern League
during the 1961 season, he met Georgia Fritsch wTiom he married
later that year. They have two children, Lisa Rene, age 4 and Marc
Young Kolb's biggest thrill was replacing Stan Musial InMusial's
last game of that gentleman's illustrious career on the final day of
the 1963 season. Other major thrills, Gary recalls readily, was
playing in the Illinois State High School Basketball Tournament in
1958 and hitting his first home run in the Major Leagues in 1963.
Gary feels he has indeed been very fortunate in having the op-
portunity of playing with two of the all-time greats in modern day
baseball . . . namely, Stan Musial and Warren Spahn.
The talented Rock Falls athlete plans to continue as an active
player in baseball as long as he is physically able. He plans to con-
tinue in baseball as either a coach or manager when his active play-
ing days are ended.
However, at 26 years of age, he now is set on getting back to
the majors and to play in a World Series ... he hopes with the
Pittsburg Pirates in 1967.
In order to bring our sports history up-to-date - and especially
the baseball story, we cannot forget to mention Jeffrey Kolb (known
to most everyone as Jeff). Jeff, who was born on September 16,
1946, is the younger brother of Gary.
Jeff was graduated from Rock Falls High School in 1964. While
attending school there, he participated in all sports. He was bas-
ketball captain 2 years. An injury sidelined him from football dur-
ing his freshman year, but he participated again in his senior year.
Jeff has attended Illinois State U at Normal for 2 years where he
earned his basketball letter his sophomore year.
On July 17, 1966, he was signed by the Chicago White Sox and
sent to the rookie league in Sarasota, Florida. This year, he is with
the Sox Farm Club from Appleton, Wisconsin and plays third base
with them in the Mid-West League. He can be seen in action at
Clinton and Davenport, Iowa when the team is playing in this area.
1957-58 "Rollicking" Rockets
Down through the years. Rock Falls has taken a backseat to no
one in its athletic pride. Probably one of the most exciting examples
of this pride was the basketball season of 1957 and 1958. The Rock
Falls Rockets, better known as the "Rollicking" Rockets, under
the leadership of coach Richard "Dick" Haselton, assistant Walt
Hardy and athletic director Lloyd Hinders, compiled an outstanding
33 wins and 2 loss record.
During the regular season, the Rockets compiled a 25 win and 1
loss record, winning the NCIC Conference, the DeKalb Holiday
Tournament and the New-Mor-Rock-Ster Tournament. The only
regular season loss came at the hands of the Kewanee Boilermakers,
a 63 to 60 setback that came while the Rockets Senior Captain Gary
Kolb was attending an All-State football banquet in Champaign-
Throughout the season, the Rockets displayed courage and fi-
nesse rarely found in high school basketball. One of the major fac-
tors of the Rockets' success was Coach Haselton's emphasis on
teamwork, and his strong bench. One situation comes to mind dur-
ing the East Rockford game of the Sectional Tournament. Hampered
by foul trouble, the Rockets had to rely on their bench. Coming off
the bench, sixth man Frank Simester scored 17 points in the closing
minutes to help send Rock Falls on to the Super-Sectional at vVhar-
ton Field House, Moline.
To cite only one man of the Rocket bench would be an injustice
to the entire team, for it was men like Simester, Thome, Johnson,
Ramirez, Anderson, Gall and Wescott, who contributed so much to
the fine first team of Kolb, Cain, Gallentine, Martin and Siebel.
It goes without saying that throughout the season, the powerful
Rockets picked up fans from here, there and everywhere as they
worked their way, game by game, toward the state finals, until
finally . . . The State Tournament! !
Playing before capacity crowds, as members of the Elite-Eight,
the Rockets proceeded to dump rival Schlarman of Danville in a
game that saw two state records fall. The score: Rock Falls - 101,
Danville - 76. This performance set the record for the highest two
team total, and also the highest one team total. These records still
stand. The following day, the Rockets beat a good Peoria Spaulding
team, placing them in the State Tournament's final contest.
Rock Falls vs Marshall
The final game of the Illinois State Tournament started with a
fury. Rock Falls quickly grabbed the lead, but just as quickly found
themselves in serious foul trouble. Jim Cain, star center of the
Rockets was tabbed with four fouls in the first quarter, and others
had three fouls before the first half had ended. Not only did this
hamper Coach Haselton's scoring threat, but prohibited the Rockets
from using their rather famous full-court press.
Foul trouble and the speed of the fine Marshall High School team
was a bit more than the Rockets could cope with. The game ended
with Marshall on top by a score of 70 to 64.
According to fans - and not only those from Rock Falls either -
the Rockets were Champions! Did the Rockets perform well? Well,
they only set four state records, placed Siebel and Kolb on the All-
Tournament First Team, Cain on the All-Tournament Second Team
and Gallentine and Martin received honorable mention. Quite an ac-
complishment in two days.
Quotes, such as: "The best coached team I've seen all year, "
"They're beautiful to watch, " and "One of the finest teams to ever
play in Huff Gymnasium, " came from the press box.
Any article about this excellent basketball team of 1957-58 would
hardly be complete without mentioning Managers Eldon Williams
and Steve Nicols, whose efficient duties helped immensely in mak-
ing such a smooth running organization possible.
Rock Falls trip to the State Tournament was well represented in
other ways also. Cheerleaders Sally Harper, Nancy Akerburg, Sue
Gallentine and Sally Henderson, who was named to the All-Tourna-
ment Cheerleaders, among others, and Miss Pat Burgess who re-
presented Rock Falls in the Queens' Court.
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1960 Undefeated Football Team
During the fall of 1960, the city of Rock Falls and Rock Falls
High School wrote another page in their history of sports. That year,
under the leadership of Coach Bruce "Mac" MacDonald and his cap-
able staff, a' Cinderella football team became a giant. This team,
playing under handicap of lack of weight piled up victories over im-
Known primarily as a defensive ball team, the Rockets stopped
opponents of much greater size through clever maneuvering and
ninety per cent desire, instilled in them by Coach MacDonald. Such
defensive standouts as Ed Rein, Bill Connell, L'Dean Gunderson,
John Bonnell, Terry Whitmer and Kenny Russell provided a con-
taining power no opponent could match.
Providing the offensive punch for the Rockets were quarterback
Ron Davis, center Mike Wesner, tackles Stan Wenger and Ron
Smeltzer, guard BobMasini and backs Jim Law, Bill Connel, Jerry
Grabeklis and Bill Stanley.
This is the Rock Falls team that played the famous "David and
Goliath" game. Paired against the powerful Mendota Trojans - a
team of monstrous size and scoring potential - the Rockets were not
only playing to win the NCIC Conference, but to also remain unde-
feated and untied. In a game that saw most of its action between
the 40 yard lines, the game ended victoriously for the Rockets, 7
The Rockets went on to capture their two remaining games for
an undefeated and untied season.
1924-25 Rock Falls High School Basketball Team
High School Football Team of 1924
The Rock Falls High School football team of 1924, with Hugh
Harrison as coach and Loomis Wheelock as captain, compiled one
of the finest records ever attained by any football team before or
since at the local school. The season record was a clean-sweep of
nine consecutive victories without defeat and by a whopping 234
points for Rock Falls and only 12 points for their opponents . The
only team to cross the Rock Falls goal line that year was Rochelle,
who accounted for the 12 points.
In photo, left to right, front row, are: Coach Harrison, Tomp-
kins, Shoemaker, Logan, Captain L. Wheelock, Pignatelli, McFalls
and Cameron, the team's business manager.
Back row, left to right, are: Hoover, Little, Schutt, Johnson,
WlUett, E. Wheelock, Wright, Weber and Darnell.
•f * ^ ♦ I I * t
1924-25 Football Te
The 1924-25 Rock Falls High School basketball team, coached
by Hugh Harrison and captained by Carlo Pignatelli, won the Rock
River Conference, were runners-up in the Moline Tournament and
finished fourth in the Illinois Wesleyan Tournament that year.
In photo above, front row, left to right, are: Johnson, Captain
Pignatelli and Huntsberger. Second row, left to right, are: Wright,
Schutt andMcFalls. Back row, left to right, are: Weber, E. Wheel-
ock, Coach Harrison, Willett and L. Wheelock.
High School Track Team
One of the finest and first Rock Falls High School track team to
ever bring statewide recognition to the local school is the 1925 team
in photo above. This team won the mile relay at the Bloomington
Wesleyan Meet and won three relay races at the Sterling High School
track meet that year.
In photo, seated left to right, are: McFalls and Huntsberger.
Second row, left to right, are: Luesby, Logan, Darnell and Gaulrapp.
Back row, left to right, are: Weber, Johnson, Captain Schutt,
Wheelock and Coach Hugh Harrison.
The sports story in our community would not be complete with-
out mentioning the Rock Falls Little League and the Rock Falls Babe
Ruth League baseball teams.
The Little League was organized in 1954 as an activity for boys
8 to 12 years in age . Lloyd Hinders did much of the work in organ-
izing this activity and was its first president. The Little League
has expanded from its original eight teams and now has eight minor
league teams as well. In the summer of 1966, there were 280 boys
who were participating.
Uniforms were purchased in 1964, at which time costs of sup-
porting the Little League amounted to $2,900.00. Since then ex-
penses have dropped to about $1900.00 annually.
The sponsors of teams have been Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club,
Rotary Club, Disco Foods, Eagles Club, Local 63, The American
Legion and also an anonymous giver.
The coaches and other helpers are parents or individuals who
realize the need for this activity for the boys .
Dale Henderson is the president for 1967.
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Babe Ruth League Baseball
The Rock Falls Babe Ruth League for 13 to 15 year olds, was
organized in 1955 with the following officers: John Stanley, presi-
dent; Alonzo Anderson, vice president; Roy Dickinson, treasurer
and Harry Viren, secretary. Four teams were formed and games
were played at Wallingford Park. In 1956, through the help of the
Rock Falls Optimist Club, Dillon Park was dedicated, lights were
installed, back stops were erected and bleachers were built. That
same year the Babe Ruth Auxiliary was organized and took charge
of the concession stand. In 1958, funds were raised with a success-
ful Pancake Supper. In 1960, two new teams were added and the
players ofall sixteams were provided with uniforms. The sponsors
wereParrish-Alford, Rock Falls Merchants, Wood Shovel and Tool,
Service Stations, Rock Falls Optimist Club and Disco Foods. New
dugouts were also installed during the year. In 1961, a new con-
cession stand was installed for the Babe Ruth Auxiliary. The All-
Stars enjoyed a successful season by winning their own District
Tournament, the Regional Tournament and then went on to place
third in the state. Through the help of the Rock Falls Chamber of
Commerce, an overhauling job was done at Dillon Park. Lights
were sent to the factory for refinishing, a permanent fence was
erected around the park, a new electric score board was placed in
center field, and a booth was built above the concession stand for
the announcer. During the years, the following men, in addition to
the original officers, served: J. Meyers, Elmer McNinch, Orville
Bronson, Glen Whitmer, Wells Shearer, Victor Alexander, Dale
Payne, Clark Wasson, Silvio Tintori, Lowell Spencer, Avie Masini,
Dale Henderson, Clarence Schuler, Wayne Hendrix and Bernard
Warkins. The 1967 officers are Wayne Hendrix, president, Jerry
Yeoard, vice president, Ross Harrison, secretary-treasurer and
Ray Mills, player agent and equipment manager.
The Rock Falls Babe Ruth League will be starting its twelfth
year and much of the success during these years is due to the Babe
Ruth Auxiliary, Civic Youth Council, the sponsors, officers, man-
agers, coaches and the many others who have helped in this worthy
Miss Schutt has done well in national championship meets. Her
latest accomplishment was a fifth place finish in a field of over 100
women at the Women's National AAU Cross Country Championships
in St. Louis. Sports Illustrated carried a story of this meet in the
December 5, 1966 issue.
The following is a list of the Rock Falls' runners best competi-
tive times to date: 220 yard dash - 26.5; 440 yard dash - 58.9; 880
yard run - 2. 12.7; 1500 meters - 4:39.6; mile - 5:14 and one and
one-half mile - 8:32.
At present, Lori is a graduate student at the University of Illi-
nois and is a member of the Central Illinois Track Club in Cham-
paign. Her coach is Dr. Nell C. Jackson, former Olympic competi-
The answer to why Lori runs can best be gained from the fol-
lowing article she wrote while at Illinois State:
"Travel, people, situations - all these are interesting. If there
needs be justification for running other than running itself, these
are certainly eligible for consideration, but the values inherent in
running itself have considerable merit.
"I consider running to be an art form. Like all art forms, it
provides opportunities for self-realization. It can bring one closer
to realizing his fullest potential as a human being. There is a cer-
tain beauty in any well executed human movement. Add to this the
feeling of freedom when extraneous factors are minimized and one
is running well, and the result is a feeling that is difficult to sur-
pass or explain.
"In a sense, the freedom of which I speak, is a freedom of un-
inhibited productiveness . The entire feeling, of which this is a com-
ponent, can best be explained as poetry in motion with the runner
With such an outlook on running as observed by the young Schutt
girl, one can expect just about anything from her on the track field
in the next few years .
One look at the hundreds of ribbons, medals, trophys and other
miscellaneous awards acquired by one young Rock Falls girl soon
has one realizing that the sport's world is not strictly dominated by
Lori Schutt, the daughter of Paul and the late Evelyn Schutt of
205 14th Avenue, Rock Falls, has been making her presence felt on
the national sports level for the past three years. Lori is a runner
. . . and a remarkably good one !
Lori has been running since she was a junior at Illinois State
University at Normal. Now in her third year of competition, she is
running toward the 1967 Pan-American games and the 1968 Olympics
in Mexico City.
ST. ANDREWS CHURCH AND SCHOOL
In the summer of 1950, His Excellency Bishop Boylan establish-
ed the parish of St. Andrew The Apostle in Rock Falls. The very
important "spade work" of organizing a new parish was very well
carried out 'by the first pastor Father Joseph TuUy. At that time,
Mr. Leo Wahl of Sterling gave a piece of property on the corner of
First Avenue and East Tenth Street to be used for the new parish.
In order to get the parish going Immediately, Father TuUy persuad-
ed Mr. Wahl to switch the gift of this lot to an already constructed
building at 800 Fourth Avenue to be used as a temporary structure
pending the completions of plans for a permanent building. This,
Mr. Wahl very graciously consented to do.
In the meantime. Father TuUy looked around the community and
after studying the trends In city development, purchased the pro-
perty on Eleventh Avenue and West Tenth Street. Meanwhile pre-
liminary plans were drawn up for a school building.
On January 1, 1951, Father Burwell Beddoes succeeded Father
TuUy as pastor. Additional property on Eleventh Avenue was pur-
chased and John J. Flad & Associates, Architects and Engineers of
Madison, Wisconsin were called in. The problem of building eco-
nomically, adequately and permanently was presented to them. Mr.
Flad then presented the plans of the building which now stands on
the corner of Eleventh Avenue and West Seventh Street.
Ground was broken on November 21, 1951 and with the steady
progress characteristic of the T.S. Willis Company, the General
Contractor, the work moved forward through the winter, spring and
summer, until on September 3, 1952, St. Andrew's Grade School
opened its doors for the first time to 202 pupils in the eight elemen-
Fortunately for the parish. Father TuUy had made a contract
with the Sisters of Loretto of the Foot of the Cross of Loretto,
Kentucky, to staff the school. For this purpose, there came to
Rock Falls in August of 1952, Sister Mary Eileen as the Superior,
Sister Mary Bernard Therese, Sister Mary Rosamond, and Sister
On the Feast of Christ the King, October 26, 1952, the auditor-
ium wing of the buUding was the scene of great joy as the parish-
ioners attended their First Mass in the new building and began their
annual Forty Hours of Adoration in Thanksgiving for the many,
many blessings given them by Our Blessed Lord.
On Sunday afternoon, May 18, 1952, in the presence of a goodly
gathering of Clergy and the faithful, the pastor. Father Beddoes,
laid the cornerstone of the new building.
Father Beddoes purchased a home at 505 Seventh Avenue In
February 1952 to be used as a Rectory.
A home was also purchased at 901 West Tenth Street in Decem-
ber 1951 to be used as a Convent for the Sisters-. This home was
old and needed much remodeling so the parishioners all pitched in
to help. The men built a new Chapel on the house and put In some
new ceilings and floors . The women helped by painting the rooms
and cleaning the house so it would be ready for the Sisters. This
workwas alldonated by the parishioners who worked on this project.
Father Beddoes was transferred to another parish in 1957 and
Father Boland came to St. Andrews. After being here a short time,
he sold the Rectory on Seventh Avenue and bought the home at 701
Tenth Avenue, as he wanted to be closer to the Church.
Father Boland stayed here until 1960 and then Father Kriegsman
was pastor until June 1963. He was transferred in 1963 and Father
Hetterman came and was pastor until July 1966. Then Father Mc-
Namee came and is now our pastor.
The assistants were: Father Lawrence London from 1954 to
1958, Father Wm. Meyers, 1958 to 1962, Father Richard Paddock,
1962 to 1965, Father Alfred Kruk from 1965 and still here.
The first baptisms took place October 15th, 1950 in the first
church on Fourth Avenue. The following six were christened: Kevin
P. Riley, Michael J. Hannon, Sharon A. Hannon, Janet M. Arduini,
Sharon A. Appenzellar and Linda A. Foley. The first christening
in the church on Eleventh Avenue was on November 9, 1952, and
Wilma J. Johnson and John S. Lewandowski were made children of
God by the sacrament of baptism.
The first wedding took place on November 1, 1950 in the tem-
porary church building between Leo J. Foley and Victoria Felsleit-
ner. The first wedding in the new church took place between Jane
Scott and Joseph Bianchi.
The Altar and Rosary Society was formed in 1950 with Louise
Hemes as president.
The Holy Name Society was organized in 1950 with Henry Kaup
The first organist was Mrs. S.A. Murphy, who so faithfully has
continued to play down through the years .
Mrs. Helen Conway directed the first choir.
We, the parishioners of Saint Andrews Catholic Church are
proud and happy to participate in the Rock Falls Centennial.
St. Andrew's School for the year of 1966 - 1967 has an enroll-
ment of 342 boys and girls, grades one through eight.
The faculty today: Sr. Marietta, principal, Sr. Gllmary, Sr.
Regina Marie, Sr. Mary Edward and Sr. John Maura, all Sisters
of Loretto. The Lay Teachers are: Miss Mary Kay Forehand, Mrs.
Madeline Lutyens, Mrs. HarryKobbeman and Mrs. Joanne Papoccia.
The faculty and children are also happy to be part of the Cen-
St. Andrew's Parish
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
The year 1867 was a special year of beginnings for Rock Falls
citizens. It was thirty-eight years later on March 18, 1905 that a
little group of Christians met in the home of W.Y. Young in Rock
Falls, to organize themselves into a company of believers, known
as Seventh Day Adventists. At the conclusion of this meeting, 14
• individuals became charter members .
The first contact of a Seventh Day Adventist minister made by
this little group was Pastor Covert, who came to Rock Falls for one
day, November 26, 1905. He called a business meeting and helped
organize a young people's society (youth group). The first rally was
held December 3, 1905 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Wright.
On January 15, 1908, the first "Liberty" magazines (a magazine
dedicated to religious liberty through the separation of church and
state) were received for circulation among the businessmen of Rock
Falls and Sterling.
January 12, 1912, after two years of waiting. Pastor F.J. Harris
came to conduct the first communion service, which was preceeded
by the New Testament ordinance of foot-washing. Among those
carrying on church work at this time were: John H. Hicks, leader;
Charles Puels, treasurer; Eva Hicks, clerk and missionary secre-
On March 17, 1917, Pastor J.H. Schilling, president of the
Illinois Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, held an all day
meeting in a hall in downtown Rock Falls. This was the first time
all offices of the church were filled.
On Wednesday, August 14, 1935, Pastors C. Ray Kinney and
Wellman opened a series of meetings under a large screened tent.
Meetings ended September 29, 1935 and on October 12, five new
members were added to the church.
As the church grew, it occupied the Odd Fellows HaU in Sterling
for seven years .
With the help of friends in the Sterling-Rock Falls community,
as well as the liberality of the Illinois Conference, a church was
built as the money was earned, so that construction could proceed
without debt of any kind. First services in the new church were held
March 20, 1943 with dedication made on the Sabbath, Saturday,
September 15, 1951.
In the present year of 1967, plans are being made for a new
full-time elementary school-church combination, so that future
leaders might be fitted tor Christian citizenship not only in Rock
Falls, but in the earth made new.
METHODIST CHURCH OF ROCK FALLS
The Sunday School, conducted by Richard Arey, Sr. , in the old
brick schoolhouse east of Rock Falls, on the Dixon Road, was one
of the earliest religious institutions in the community. It changed
its location to the new school building on the corner opposite the
Rock Falls Bank, where it continued as a Union Sabbath school from
1868 to 1871 with James A. Patterson as superintendent. At this
time, It was merged into the Methodist Episcopal Sabbath school.
Lawrence Woodford was elected the first superintendent of the re-
During the winter of 1868-1869, a revival service was conducted
by Rev. Ailing and Denning, of the Fourth St. and Broadway church-
es of Sterling, Illinois, assisted by Dr. J.H. Moore, Presiding
Elder. Such an interest was awakened that a class was at once
formed and the little society began its independent existence.
The need of a church building was very urgent and during the
Spring of 1869, a petition was circulated to raise money for the
erection of a modest edifice. In a short time, $1, 825 was subscrib-
ed for a building. On July 10, 1869, the first money was paid to the
treasurer, J. A. Bickford. Ground was broken on a lot purchased
from A.L. Merrill for $300. Before the fall of 1869, the buUding
was enclosed, building papers put on rafters above, and stoves
were put in, so that it was used during the spring of 1870 with only
temporary inconveniences. Rev. W.H. Smith, the new pastor of
Fourth St. M.E. Church, greatly enthused the congregation and the
church increased in interest and numbers . Labor resumed on the
On the eve of December 14, 1869, the society held an oyster
supper and festival and with the funds thus raised, purchased of
C.S. Mills, music dealer in Sterling, on Christmas Day, 1869, a
$140 no. 7 Burdette organ. At the conference of 1870, held in Elgin,
Illinois, the sum of $100 was appropriated by the committee on
missions for the support of the work In Rock Falls. October 11,
1870, John A. Stayt was appointed as the first pastor. With a
settled pastor to guide the society in its efforts, the church was
finished. Brother Stayt worked with the carpenters and expended
much hard labor in bringing the plans to completion. The dedica-
tion of the church, costing $4,189.07, took place in April, 1871,
under the charge of Dr. J.H. Moore, Presiding Elder, who retired
April 18, 1871 to live in Polo, Illinois.
The first bell was hung in the tower but was found to be cracked
and was taken down and returned to the foundry. The present bell
was hung In place on March 22, 1872.
In the early part of the pastorate of Rev. John A. Stayt, preach-
ing points were established at Hume Center and Bayne's Comers,
each contributing liberally to the support of the work on the charge.
At a meeting of the church held October 11, 1871, plans were
discussed and formulated for the procuring of a lot, and building a
parsonage. A committee, consisting of Rev. J. A. Stayt, J. A. Bick-
ford and A.F.R. Emmons were appointed for that purpose and on
November 1, 1871, a lot was purchased for $300 and work begun on
a home for the pastor. The work of building the house was under the
direction of W.H. Swingley. It was Completed at a cost of$l,104.77
and turned over to the committee October 15, 1872.
Those appearing on the subscription list as giving $100 or more
towards the building were: M.L. Cow, J. A. Patterson, J.L. Mor-
rill, C.K. Brown, A.W. Wheeler, C.H. Payson, Andrews, Bick-
ford and Co., R.H.Jenkins, J. P. Russell, L.K. Jenkins, T. Yoe-
ward and J. Smith. Among other subscriptions was a $100 buggy
given to the church by C.K. Brown.
The first trustees of the organization approved at the first quar-
terly conference of the denomination, held November 18, 1870 were
R.H. Jenkins, J. A. Bickford, C.K. Brown, J.L. Morrill and
Marcus L. Company.
An interesting relic among the data was of the Chicago fire. A
note amounting to $288 was given to George A. Misch and Bro.
Mfg., Chicago, for the purchase of stained glass windows for the
church. During the interm of its possession by Misch and Bro.,
the great Chicago fire occurred, October 9, 1871. The entire plant
worth $40,000 (including plans, accounts, etc. ,) were lost. Upon
opening their safe, which was so damaged that it could hardly be
wedged apart, the notes, accounts, etc. were found to be so charred
and blackened that they were hardly recognizable. Among them was
the note given by the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of
Rock Falls. The firm informed the church treasurer of their loss
and begged the trustees to advance payment of the note, not due
until March 1872, and upon its payment was returned to the treas-
urer. It was so charred and blackened that it hardly held together.
However, the glistening printers ink still shows on the charred
sheet and makes the figures plainly decernable .
During the two year pastorate of John A. Stayt, the charge re-
ceived $100 each year from the missionary committee toward the
support of a pastor. At the close of 1872, the charge had grown
from an almost chaotic nothingness to a membership of 87, having
three Sunday Schools; one at Rock Falls, one at Banes Corners and
one at Hume with a total attendance of 388.
At the conference, the pastor reported a church building worth
$5,000, a parsonage worth $1,100 and as having received $700
salary and$160 in donations for the first year and $900 and the use
of the parsonage for the second year.
By 1873 the church became self-supporting. The membership
grew to 158, with a Sabbath School having an attendance of 214
There have gone out from this charge into the ministry or other
religious labors Rev. W.H. Tuttles; Rev. W.O. Sheppard; Rev.
Fred D. Stone; Rev. George A. Wells; Rev. Albert E. Coe; Prof.
Oscar Triggs of Chicago University and O.A. Oliver, ex-treasurer
of the Western Methodist Book Concern.
Among the early members prior to 1875, Mrs. Mary A. Payson,
Mrs. Isabell Stone, Martin Detrlck, Mr. and Mrs. N.G. Van Sant,
R.L. Leitch, Mrs. Rachael Coe, Cora B. Coe, Elizabeth N. Coe,
Mrs. Mary E. Davison, Mrs. Mary A. Morrison, Mrs. Nancy
Emmons and Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Emmons.
The first communion set, which was made of solid silver, was
presented by A.W. Wheeler and wife. It's still being preserved,
after being used regularly up to December 10, 1905.
The first organist was Clara Hapgood (Mrs. C. Glassburn).
Alpheus Fox was the first chorister. The first superintendent of
the Methodist Sabbath School was Lawrence Woodford.
Extensive improvements were made on the parsonage In Sep-
tember 1881, when an addition was built; the house thoroughly re-
novated and repaired. An addition (12 x 18) to the church was ac-
complished during the winter of 1882, providing a place for social
and week day service of the church.
Between 1870-1888, ten pastors served the church. During the
pastorate of M.M. Bales (1888-1891), the church was completely
remodeled, extensive additions were made and the interior rear-
ranged. More renovating and repair work was done In the summer
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of 1904. On September 18, 1904, the church was reopened and the
parsonage dedicated. Subscriptions taken reduced the Indebtedness
Between 1891 to 1916, nine pastors served the parish. During
the pastoratfe of Alfred Slmlster (1916-1922) the church burned to
the ground; In January 1921. The passing of this old landmark and
spiritual home was a great loss. The pastor and officials planned
a new church very shortly. A subscription list was started and
enough subscribed to Justify the building committee to begin oper-
ation. The comer stone was laid in October 1922 and in September
1923, the present Methodist Church was dedicated.
Pastors serving the church up to the present time have been J.
J. Kitchens, 1922-1926; S.H. Wirsching, 1926-1928; J. O. Craw-
ford, 1929-1933; R.W. Furmish, 1934-1937; James R. Uhllnger,
1938-1942; Wayne Leighty, 1943-1947; A.E. Blomberg, 1948-1949;
F.E. Frankson, 1949-1950; Paul Gilbert, 1950-1952; Norman C.
Miller, 1953-1956; and Ivan J. Obenshain, 1956—.
During the pastorate of Norman C. Miller, the chancel of the
sanctuary was completely remodeled and the pipe organ, which was
a memorial gift, was installed. The church kitchen was also re-
During the pastorate of the present pastor. Rev. Ivan J. Oben-
shain, a new educational wing has been added on the south side. A
memorial chapel on the second floor of the church has been fur-
nished by families in memory of loved ones.
Rev. Obenshain will have completed, in this centennial year,
his tenth year in this pastorate and is retiring from the ministry
IMMANUEL EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 501 8th Avenue was
organized June 17, 1877. Its first building was built on land donated
to the congregation by Abner Merrill on what was then Payson
Street. It was a small 54 x 32 foot frame structure, but it served
the congregation for many years . The building was dedicated in the
fall of 1877, and cost $1935.
The congregation ordinarily had its own pastor, but from 1882
to 1886, it was served by the pastor from the Lutheran Church in
The church was renovated in 1891 and two lots adjoining the
church were purchased. In 1892, the church was raised and a
basement was put under it for school purposes.
The first parsonage was built in 1894 by Dr. J.M. Reu, the
pastor at that time. Additional church improvements were made in
1898. In 1900, a second story was added to the parsonage and it
was purchased from Dr. Reu.
From the beginning of Pastor Reu's service in 1890 until the
late 1930's, the Rock Falls pastors also served the Yorktown con-
In 1907, a number of members of the Rock Falls congregation
living in Sterling desired to organize a congregation of their own
In Sterling. St. Paul's church was then organized and although the
church was weakened by this division, the remaining members
rallied and soon the numbers began to be replenished.
German was the language of the church until after Rev. Wm.
Krebs was called in 1913. Then English was introduced in the Sun-
day School and one church service was held In English and one in
German. German was dropped entirely during the pastorate of Wm.
I I I I \^t
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church - About 1895
Additional Improvements were made In the church in 1914, and
it was rebuilt extensively in 1926. Electricity and other Improve-
ments were made on the parsonage in 1916.
In 1952, a portion of the parish hall was built and an additional
part was built in 1955 . Additional land has been purchased through
the years, including two lots south of the parsonage. Lots west and
north of the church have been purchased for parking in more recent
The longest pastorate through the years was that of Rev. Wm.
Krebs. He passed away in 1933 while still pastor of the congrega-
tion. One son, Walter became a lay missionary to New Guinea. He
was interned by the Japanese in the early years of the second World
War. He lost his life when the ship he was on while being moved to
another prison camp, was bombed.
At the congregations first meeting in 1877, there were 18 voting
members. Now, in 1967, 90 years later, there are 1399 baptized and
1208 confirmed members in Immanuel Lutheran Congregation.
Pastors having served Immanuel Lutheran in its 90 year history
are: Rev. StoU, 1877-1879; Rev. G. Beitz, 1879-1882; Rev. Stauf-
enberg, 1882-1890;Rev. J.M. Reu, 1890-1899; Rev. J. Weyrauch,
1899-1903; Rev. E. Hafermann, 1903-1913; Rev. Wm. Krebs,
1913-1933;Rev. Wm. Streng, 1933-1957; Rev. D. Comnick, 1947-
1961; Rev. E.A. Henrichs, 1961-.
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF ROCK FALLS
The First Congregational Church of Rock Falls, Illinois was
formed from a nucleus from the First Congregational Church of
Sterling, Illinois. The people of Rock Falls, who had been attend-
ing the Sterling church, felt that the time had come to organize a
Congregational Church on the south side of Rock River.
A meeting was called at the Rock Falls Methodist Church on
December 26, 1875. Rev. S.D. Belt, who had been the minister in
the Sterling church from January 20, 1874 to October 1, 1875,
along with Rev. J.E. Roy, D.D., Rev. Rufus Apthorp and Rev.
MoConnel helped organize the new group.
The charter members were as follows; Richard Arey, Mrs.
Mary A. Arey, Mrs. Sarah E. Phelps, Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Rice,
Mrs. Sophia E. Wright, Miss Fannie Wright, James C. Arey, Mrs.
Mary E. Arey, Miss Hattie Arey, Mr. and Mrs. James Alpress,
Augustus Edgerton, Mrs. Delia S. Edgerton and Mrs. Emiline H.
The first deacons elected were Richard Arey, Charles Saxton
and J . B . Hand .
The upper room of the schoolhouse built in 1868 and located on
the corner of Elm and Bridge streets (First Avenue and Third
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street) was made suitable as a place of worship and was used reg-
ularly until a church could be built.
A Sabbath School was organized January 2, 1876, with about
fifty members and Rev. Belt as superintendent and L. Tuttle sec-
tary; and met after the morning worship service.
On March 12, 1876, the church held its first communion ser-
vice in the schoolhouse. Rev. S.D. Belt and Rev. Rufus Apthorp
officiated. Forty-two members received the right hand of fellow-
On August 9, 1876, the lots on which the church was later built
were received from Augustus P. Smith, who donated the lots to the
On September 4, 1876, the cornerstone of the church was laid.
Soon after, the lumber and materials were ready. With members
of the church helping with the work, and Philo Meacham serving
as superintendent of the project, the first story and basement (40
X 75) was completed at a cost of $3, 627. 73.
One of the outstanding windows was a small one set high in the
wall, at the back of the sanctuary, that was referred to by the con-
gregation, as the "Eye of God. "No one seems to know what became
of it when the church was demolished in 1959.
The church membership was eighty and the Sunday School
reached one hundred fifty by 1877.
The next undertaking, about 1883, was to add twelve feet to the
front of the building. The contract was let to E.G. Palmer and
M.C. Dearman and finished at the cost of $2,254.33. There was a
belfry built on the northeast corner of the building and a bell hung,
but it did not weather well and was later removed.
In the spring of 1885, preparations were made to plaster and
finish off the audience room on the second floor of the church. In
June of 1886, Keeney and Harrison of Sterling were awarded the
contract. Carpenter work, furnishing, finishing and seating cost
$2,508.81. The dedication of the new sanctuary was held in Novem-
ber 1886. The members then had a large room for worship and had
all of the church debt paid.
In the spring of 1894, extensive repairs, redecorating, etc.,
were done. Members of the church did most of the work themselves.
Janitor service was often taken over by the church members.
In October 1895, Davis and Thomas contracted to wire thechurch
for electric lights. About fifty lamps were used. The old oil lamps
were saved for awhile as they occasionally had to be dug out of the
closets when the electricity failed. Earl Lutyens has one of these
old lamps which he found in the church attic .
First Congregational Church
In the fall of 1896, a new coal house was added to the northwest
comer of the church and a door cut through into the basement near
the furnace. Members of thechurch donated their time and skill for
In July of 1888, the church members discussed ways and means
for the erection or purchase of a parsonage. It wasn't until a meet-
ing on March 23, 1901, that by a unanimous vote, authority and
instruction was given to the trustees to purchase the house nearest
the church. The minister was required to pay rent for its use.
In the spring of 1897, the space in the north end of the entrance
hall of the church was converted into a pastor's study. Mr. E.R.
Nims did the carpenter work.
In 1923, a pipe organ was installed, a gift to the church from
the family of Mrs. Susan M. Brown, who had been a faithful mem-
ber and worker in the church for many years .
New pulpit fittings were purchased to replace the old ones in
On January 29, 1956, the church's 80th anniversary was cele-
brated, with the Rev. John F. Corpe, of the Mont Clara Congrega-
tional Church of Chicago, a former minister here, as guest speaker.
It was about this time that it became evident that the sanctuary
and church, as a whole, were in bad repair. With the parking situ-
ation as it was and the trend of the times (to move out of town)
plans should be made to sell, and buy with an eye to the future.
On Sunday, May 27, 1956, the moderator, Donald McNlnch,
appointed a planning committee and an architect was contacted for
sketches for a complete new structure.
On October 12, 1957, the property on First Avenue was sold to
the Rock Falls National Bank and on the same day, plans were made
to purchase the property on Dixon Road, known as the Hospital
Association property. A building chairman was approved and the
necessary plans completed for a new church.
On July 20, 1958, ground breaking services were held at the
new church site with Rev. C. McCall of the State Conference as-
sisting Rev. R. Fate. Work on the church started August 4, 1958.
Doors to the old church closed on Sunday, June 14, 1959, with a
special service and the twelve oldest members recognized. Services
were held in Thome School from June 21, 1959, to July 1959 and on
July 26, 1959, the first worship service was held in the new sanc-
Dedication service was held Sunday afternoon, September 27,
1959. The total cost of the new building and property, including the
rebuilding and installation of the organ was $173, 119.96.
Present trustees are: W.R. Bose, Milton F. Ward, Elwyn R.
Stevens, Harold D. Wolber, A.E. Corzett, W.R. McCoy, Earl
George and W.J. Sowles.
In the spring of 1963, the members agreed to build a new par-
sonage, so a committee was appointed and the work proceeded. The
pastor and his family moved into the new parsonage on January 29,
1964. Elwyn Stevens and William Tewell, Jr. gave many hours to
the erection of this new house.
A growing Sunday School has contributed much to form a sound
foundation for a Christian life.
D.C. Cow was the first Sunday School superintendent and served
20 years. Others included J.H. Mechling, Harold Downey, Fred
Howe, Miss Alice Swanson and Frank Swanson. The late Mrs. J.F.
Sensenbaugh will long be remembered for her dedicated teaching in
the junior department. Thelma McNlnch has served nearly 40 years
in the beginners department. The present superintendent is Mrs.
In early years, young people were organized into a Christian
Endeavor. Under the pastorate of Rev. J.F. Corpe, the Lamba
Tau Pi young people's society was formed. The Pilgrim Fellowship
now serves the young people of the church.
On May 15, 1878, the Ladies Mite Society was formed. This was
a very active organization. Church suppers, ice cream "sociables",
with musical entertainment provided fun for all and neat sums to
add to the treasury. The J.W. Nims family orchestra and some-
times the well-known Keystone Band furnished music.
About 1927, the Social Circle eventually replaced the Mite So-
ciety and it in turn was replaced by the Women's Fellowship, which
still functions as a strong branch of the church.
Present officers are: Mrs. J. Sumption, Mrs. Hal Christianson,
Mrs. Austin Corzett and Mrs. Stanley Reeser.
The Berean Bible Class, organized in 1922, has been a helpful
organization in furthering church activities.
Singing in the first church was unaccompanied and a chorister,
or leader was appointed. Edgar R. Nlms was the first chorister
and Nellie Nims was the first organist. In 1895, Miss Ella Rich-
ards, of Sterling, directed the choir. Otherdirectors included S.D.
D. Ousterhout, J.W. Johnstone, Prof. James B. Wallace and A. A.
Woodyatt. The present director is Mrs. Mabel Peterson.
In 1917, Miss Ruth Limerick was pianist and later Miss Ruth
Rev. S.D. Belt, the first pastor, served from December 26,
1875-1880; Rufus Apthorp, Mrs. Libbey and W. Cone served from
1881 to 1886. A total of fourteen ministers served here from 1887
to April 1929. J.F. Corpe, Omar J. Flugum, LeRoy N. Fielding,
J.B. Clyde, B.F. Hern, Russell L. Fate and Dean Chasteen la-
bored here from July 1, 1929 to June 1966. Since July 1966, the
church continued to work under the leadership of Rev. Donald
The church has not lived for itself alone but has provided, pre-
pared and sent forth young people, together with money, into the
extended service of Christian activity. The history of the past, in-
spires and challenges us to still greater development in the future.
First Congregational Church
FIRST SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH
Writing the history of a church is like trying to hit a moving
target. It never stands still or stops moving long enough for you to
record its progress really up to date. The First Southern Baptist
Church of Rock Falls is no exception. First Southern can only claim
16 years out of the 100 years of Rock Falls' history, but it looks
forward to many years of meaningful service in the Rock Falls
The Southern Baptist Church had its beginning in the hearts of
Baptist people who moved into Rock Falls and found that there was
no Southern Baptist Church. They were surprised and disappointed.
A small group began to meet during the early part of 1951 for pray-
er meetings in the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford who at that
time lived on Shore Acres Drive. When they started to talk about a
church in Rock Falls, they were told that, "There has never been
a Missionary Baptist Church here". This did not quench their de-
sire to have a church of their own faith. The closest Southern Bap-
tist Church at the time was at Peoria.
Early inMay of 1951, a letter was written to a pastor in Harvey,
Illinois, Rev. Earl Finney, who was known by the people here. His
advice in the matter of getting a church started was sought. Rev.
Finney contacted Rev. A.G. Rednour, pioneer missionary for the
Chicago area. In a short time, Rev. Finney and Rev. Rednour
visited the Rock Falls area and did some survey work. They de-
cided that a church indeed was needed and possible in this area.
On May 24, 1951 at 7:30 p.m., the First Southern Baptist
Church of Rock Falls was organized in the Trager Hall with 15
charter members. Before the charter was closed, 2 others came
into the fellowship to make a total of 17 charter members. Repre-
sentatives of the Illinois Baptist State Association were present In-
cluding the State Secretary at that time. Dr. Noel M. Taylor.
The church then moved its meeting place to the Odd Fellows
Hall In Sterling where they continued to meet until September of
1951. The first meeting of the church in Sterling was attended by
26 interested people. Though the group met in Sterling, they con-
tinued to make plans for their church to be built in Rock Falls.
On June 10, 1951, the church called her first pastor. Rev. Troy
Butler who served as pastor until December of that year.
On July 20, 1951, two large lots were purchased at the corner
of 9th Avenue and West 12th Street. This was to become the home
of the church. The purchase of this property was made possible in
part by a gift from the Illinois Baptist State Association, but more
important, by the sacrificial gifts of the small membership of the
church, with no Southern Baptist work to the north at all and a very
small amount of work in the Chicago area. As It turned out, the
First Southern Baptist church was the trunk from which all of the
work in Sterling and Rock Falls area was to begin.
In September of 1951, a tent was placed on the lots at 902 West
12th Street for a meeting place and the first unit was started on the
building. In November of 1951, the church began to meet in the not
yet completed building. As one member recalls from these early
days, "We had a small stove in the one room. We all sat around
the stove and the preacher stood by it and preached. You could
usually tell if there was a fire In the stove, by going up and putting
your hand on it."
On July 2, 1952, Rev. William E. Pratt came as pastor of the
church and finished the building of the church. He remained with
the work until June 9, 1954. During this time the church had a good
deal of Increase and growth.
On January 23, 1955, the church called Rev. Dee T. Speers as
pastor. Rev. Speers was to lead the church on June 27, 1956 to
begin plans to enlarge the building and add educational space. This
work was done before June of 1957 and remains as the basic plant
of the church at this time. Rev. Speers continued as pastor until
July 7, 1960.
On October 15, 1960, Rev. James Crawford became the pastor
and served in a fine manner until May 23, 1962.
On October 8, 1962, Rev. Ottis Meadows became the pastor and
he served faithfully until July 6, 1966.
The present pastor. Rev. Thomas B. Reiff was called as pastor
on October 19, 1966. The pastor and his family reside in the
church's parsonage at 302 12th Avenue.
Nine charter members remain In the church at this time. They
are: Mr. and Mrs. James Ford, Mr. and Mrs. Bennle Martin, Mr.
and Mrs. Claude Miller, Mrs. Lova Wyatt, Mrs. Lonette McKnight
and Mr. Robert Miller.
The church has two ordained deacons to work with the church
and the pastor. They are Mr. James Ford and Mr. Claude. Miller.
The membership at the present time is about 125 with an average
attendance inihe worship of the church at about 65.
Throughout its history, the church has been missionary. It has
sponsored a mission in Clinton, Iowa; Latin American Mission in
Sterling, and for nearly a year, the Emerson Baptist Chapel at
We are proud to be a part of the Rock Falls Community. We re-
joice In the years of past history, but more we look into the future
of Rock Falls and pray that we can have a part in making It a better
community to live, work and worship in.
ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
The Rock Falls Assembly of God Church is one of approximately
10,000 Assemblies of God churches in the United States. It had a
very humble beginning onjuly 3, 1949, starting with about six fam-
ilies and meeting in the home of the founder, Rev. Harry W. Lutz,
who is its pastor at the present time. Rev. Lutz came to Rock Falls
in June 1946, and after pastorlng an independent church in Rock
Falls for three years, organized theAssembly ofGod Church. From
July 10, 1949 until December 1951, the group met in Trager Hall
above Daggett's Drug Store. Ground was broken for its first new
building at the corner of 10th Avenue and W. 23th St. in August 1950.
A white concrete block building was erected with the major part of
the construction being done by the pastor and congregation. The
original church board at this time consisted of Robert Spealman,
John Knapp, Nicholas Miller and B.W. Edwards, with pastor Lutz
The church was duly organized as a non-profit corporation, re-
ceiving its charter and corporation license from the State of Illinois
in 1949. All its property is in the name of the official board and is
owned jointly by the board and the congregation.
In August of 1961, ground was broken for an addition to the
original building on 10th Avenue.
Plans for the added structure included 13 classrooms, two au-
ditoriums, offices, washrooms, kitchen, nursery, evangelist's
apartment and a roomy foyer. The proposed cost was to be $90, 000,
but with donated help, the cost was a little over half that amount.
Another piece of property was purchased in December 1960, on the
southeast corner of 10th Avenue and W. 12th Street for a parking
Most of the original charter members are still with the church
today. The present board members are: Robert Spealman, secre-
tary; Clifford Gross, treasurer; Merrill Kidder, Earl Cobble and
the pastor, H.W. Lutz, chairman.
The pastor and Mrs. Lutz live in their own home which he built
adjacent to the church edifice.
The local church has an active missionary program, giving par-
tial support to six foreign and two home missionaries. It has a
Women's Missionary Council which contributes to the material
needs of the missionaries.
The young people of the church are organized into the "Christ's
Ambassadors", conducting their own services each Sunday evening.
They also participate in the church orchestra and choir, and in
attending gospel meetings held at the Whiteside County jail in Mor-
rison. Several of the local young people of the church have entered
The Assemblies of God accept the Holy Scriptures as the in-
spired, infallible Word of God. Its tenet of faith includes four car-
dinal doctrines ; (1) Salvation through faith in and personal acceptance
of Jesus Christ as Savior; (2) the Baptism with the Holy Spirit ac-
cording to the pattern in Acts 2; (3) Divine Healing through the
atonement (Isa. 53:4; Matt. 8:16, 17; James 5:13, 14; and (4) the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ (I Thess. 4:16, 17).
COMMUNITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
With industrial expansion in the community, a rapid extension
of Rock Falls (especially south of Route 30 and west of Route 88) , it
became necessary to build the new Dillon Elementary School in that
area. Through a survey of needs through the Rock River Presby-
tery, attention was turned to Rock Falls and its needs. Student
ministers. Rev. David B. Maxton, and other interested people,
stimulated an interest in having a Daily Vacation Bible School dur-
ing August of 1953. Permission was granted to use four rooms in
Church services were also held in Dillon School until a manse
was erected on the property that Mr. Paul Dillon donated for this
purpose. Student ministers, members of the First Presbyterian
Church of Sterling, and people of this Rock Falls community work-
ed together to further the Kingdom of God.
In 1955, the Community Presbyterian Church was organized and
Dr. Joseph Van Roekel was called to be the first pastor. Services
were held in the basement of the manse, until the present church
building was constructed.
Dedicatory services for the new church building were held in
1956 with a large number of people attending. Rev. David B. Max-
ton gave the dedicatory sermon.
The church continued to grow in each department of its organi-
zation. A Woman's Association was formed, which helped to carry
out the work and purpose of the church. Classes In Sunday School
were held regularly for children from three years of age on up. An
adult Bible Class convened weekly.
The future of the church was bright until International Harvester
Co. relocated, and with the relocation moved a large part of the
congregation. Several of the church families moved out of state at
this time, also.
Dr. Christos Vais was called to replace Dr. Van Roekel. There
was renewed hope and some growth was shown, but illness forced
Dr. Vais to resign.
A supply minister and student pastors conducted services for
some time. The church seemed destined to close its doors. Serious
thought was given to selling the property, but because of the untir-
ing work of Rev. Kenneth Mortonson, of the Sterling Presbyterian
Church and those remaining in the now nearly depleted congregation,
the church's doors were kept open.
In 1963 the Rev. James Crangle was called. With the continuing
help of Rev. K. Mortonson and others from the Sterling Church,
there was a growth in the Rock Falls church. A new purpose was
discovered and this purpose was perpetuated by the handicapped
The Tenth Anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1965,
when the former ministers returned, having a part in the services.
The Rev. David B. Maxton, D.D., of Granite City, nimols gave
the sermon in the afternoon.
One of the most impressive and obvious aspects of the Commun-
ity Church is the church's outreach to the handicapped. What started
out to be a church program, developed into Self-Help Enterprises —
a workshop for the handicapped. The grovrth of the shop was so
great that its operation was turned over to that of the community.
With Jan Player, Pat Griffith, and Jeannle Hay, a home for re-
tarded men was established. The purpose of the home is to offer
opportunities to the residents of Dixon State School to live and work
apart from the institution. The home's supervision is now the re-
sponsibility of Sterling-Rock Falls Council of Churches and is
named "The Council House."
Present day officers of the Community Presbyterian Church
consist of the following board of Elders: Harry Hubbard, Clerk of
Session; Richard Gillette; C.R. Manning; Walter Wolfe;Mrs. Harold
Sames and Harry Dixon. Miss Joan Eshelman is the church organist.
The church serves the community in many ways; offering pro-
grams to the youth of the area - swimming, camping, crafts, field
trips, and other like events. The counsel of the church is available
to any who are in need. All of this is offered on anon-denominational
The Rock Falls Community Presbyterian Church has worked In
many areas during the past twelve years . However, the work that
has been done and must be continued, would be of little value if it
were not for the sole purpose of witnessing to the fact that Christ
died for man's sin and that life can only be complete in Jesus
Christ, the risen Savior.
Community Presbyferion Church
FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE
The local Rock Falls Church of the Nazarene had its beginning
in May of 1957. Rev. Willard HoUis, who now is a pastor at Ottawa,
Illinois, along with a few people with a vision of scriptural holiness,
feeling the necessity of this work in Rock Falls, organized the
church. They began worship in a small chapel on Eleventh Avenue,
in a growing area of Rock Falls .
Rev. Roy Nickels came as pastor in 1960, and with tremendous
sacrifice, was successful in leading the congregation In the erec-
tion of an adequate church building.
The present pastor is Rev. Gale L. Goode, who came in 1964.
At the present time, it records a membership of 73 people, a
Sunday School enrollment of 295, and an average yearly attendance
of over 100 in the Sunday School and morning worship service.
Its lay leadership is provided by Mr. Orval Sliger, Sunday
School Superintendent, Mrs. Avis Blankenship, Young People's
Society President and Mrs. Doris Goode, World Missionary Society
This local church is a part of the General Church of the Nazar-
ene, with world headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Church of the Nazarene Is Welseyan in doctrine, with a
representative type of government, preaching the Word of God
Parrish-Alford Fence and Machine Company, Rock Falls
Sincere Congratulations to the Progressive
City of Rock Falls
on its 100th Birthday
PARRISH-ALFORD FENCE and MACHINE COMPANY
NORTHWESTERN STEEL and WIRE COMPANY
MESSIAH LUTHERAN MISSION
The good people of Messiah Lutheran Congregation at Sterling,
minola, affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, had
long dreamed of establishing a subsidiary church In Rock Falls.
Accordingly, a small group of approximately 85 separated them-
selves from the mother church to form a nucleus of men on a mis-
sion to establish a Mission Church. This group met for a time at
East Coloma School on the corner of Dixon Ave. and McNeil Road.
It was served directly by the Rev. Eldor MeuUer, pastor of the
home church at Sterling. Under the leadership of Pastor Mueller,
Architects Seehausen and Munz of Rock Falls and Rockford, were
engaged to sketch preliminary plans for the first stage of a pro-
gressive and on-going church.
The architects drew up a plan based on an equilateral triangle
basis, which. In the future, can be enlarged toward the south. This
plan was accepted by the Joint members of Messiah at Sterling, and
the Mission at Rock Falls, with construction starting Immediately.
In the meantime, the Rev. Robert Jahn was called as an assist-
ant pastor and was Installed at the Mission on June 17, 1962.
Under the combined efforts of the two pastors, the congregation
grew to 182 communicants, 294 souls.
On January 6, 1963, the MlssloYi Congregation entered its new
church home, situated on 5 acres of land at the corner of Dixon Ave.
and Martin Road.
The congregation is currently served by the Rev. Edwin F.
Schlade of 1311 Franklin Ct., Rock Falls, Illinois.
MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH
The YeowardvlUe Baptist Church started as a mission of the
Como Baptist Church in August 1959. It began with a Vacation
Bible School and Revival. Services were held In a tent on the Steve
Rev. Aldridge as a mission pastor, began his duties August 19,
In November 1959, the mission moved Into a house owned by
Mrs. Mary McCombs. This building was soon outgrown and pro-
perty was bought on Spruce St. from Jessie Stanfleld.
The first services were held In the Spruce St. building on Oc-
tober 2, 1960, with 52 charter members.
During the pastorate of Rev. Aldridge, property was bought at
the comer of Walter and Walnut Streets for future building. Rev.
Aldridge left in August 1962 to attend Clarke College in Newton,
Mississippi. Rev. Kenneth Sears served as interim pastor until
January 1963. Rev. Wilbur Beadle served the church until January
In February 1964, Rev. Aldridge returned to serve the church.
The church voted to begin construction of a new building on the
property at Walnut and Walter Streets, with ground breaking ser-
vices held on August 9, 1964. The building committee was Bob
Doyle, Ted Aldridge, Alvin Lewellen and Joe Stanfleld. Harold
Mohrman served as construction foreman with members of the con-
gregation donating labor. As the result of wonderful cooperation and
long hours of hard work, first services were held in the new church
on Thanksgiving Day, 1964.
The church voted to change the name from YeowardvlUe Baptist
Church to Maranatha Baptist Church in YeowardvlUe. This was
done to give the church a Bibical name.
In March 1966, construction was begun on a home for their
pastor. The home is constructed of brick to match the church. As
a result of all the donated labor by members, construction costs
have been kept to about half the valuation of the church property.
Maranatha Baptist Church membership is 218 with Sunday School
enrollment of 170 and a Training union enrollment of 140.
THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Following the frontier, and being basically a layman's move-
ment, it was to be expected that a Christian Church would be or-
ganized in the new city of Rock Falls . So It was that in the year
1897, a church was begun by organizing church school classes in
the home of Mr. Elon Babcock. On November 11, 1897, a church,
consisting of 31 persons and representing 17 families and called
"The First Church of Christ (Disciples)", was organized in the
home of Mr. Babcock. Work had already been started on a building
erected on a lot donated by Mr. A.L. Merrill. This building was
finished quickly and was dedicated on December 19, 1897. The de-
dicatory service was conducted by Rev. J.H. Harden, President of
The following persons were those who constituted the charter
members of the church (as accurately as the writing of seventy
years ago can be deciphered): Brothers Charles Smith, A.E. Bab-
cock, Henry L. Shifter, M.T. Mouck, Elisha Wolford, Elon G.
Babcock, Samuel Lowry, Charles Sumner and Will Adair; Sisters
M.T. Mouck, Wm. Waugh, H.L. Shifter, Emily Babcock, Mary
Smith, James Crichton, Mary G; Babcock, Jennie Lowry, Alice
Wolford, Laura Fry, Genevieve A. Pearl (Smith), Nellie Pearl,
Katie Sherman, Mary Norris, Anna Shifter, Charles Sumners,
Ethel Mouck, Dellie Shiffer, Carrie Shifter, MoUie Baley, Charles
Bert and Jennie Craughan.
Equipment for this first church building came from many sources,
some items being donated and some being purchased. The first
communion service was given by the Sterling Christian Church and
was used until 1910 when individual cups were used to replace the
Help for the new church was given In many ways by the Sterling
Church. Ministers from Sterling held worship services regularly,
and held evangelistic meetings. Other churches in the area assisted
and their ministers held meetings which resulted in the Rock Falls
In May of 1900, five families of the church moved to Canada and
their going threatened to spell the end of the new church. But these
were hardy people and they continued on in spite of their reduced
membership. Recently contact has been made with the last surviving
member of the Elon G. Babcock family, In whose home the church
was organized and she. Miss Mattie Babcock, is very much inter-
ested in hearing about the progress of the church.
The church was reorganized after the e.xodus of the families to
Canada, with the help of the District Board and a series of meetings
held by Rev. Harold E. Monser, which resulted in 34 additions to
the church. Rev. W.A. Green was the first regular minister, be-
ginning his work on April 24, 1904 and ending it on November 1,
1905. Prior to this time, preaching had been done by the ministers
of the First Christian Church, Sterling.
As the church grew, it became necessary to enlarge thebuilding.
A lot was purchased at the back of thebuilding, a basement installed
and the church building moved back upon it. Most of the labor on
this work was done by the men of the church . The building was en-
larged and dedicated on May 18, 1913.
Rev. Harry E. Shiffer began a longtime ministry on February
20, 1920. He resigned in August 1958, but continued on until Rev.
Richard Dawson was called on January 1, 1959.
During Rev. Shifter's ministry, two disastrous fire were suf-
fered by the church. The first occurred in 1932, badly damaging
the building, but it was restored and services were renewed. On
December 18, 1950, fire destroyed the building completely. During
both these periods of time, the church met for services in Merrill
School. Good fellowship has been experienced by the church and the
school, for during a period of time when Merrill School needed
more space, the school classes were held in the church.
Another building program was started and onNovember 23, 1951,
the present building was dedicated with Rev. C.C. Carpenter of
Peoria in charge of the service. The mortgage on this building was
paid off on June 30, 1956 and the mortgage was burned on Novem-
ber 4, 1956 at a special service.
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
CONGRATULATIONS TO ROCK FALLS CENTENNIAL
37 UNJTS PHONES TV - AIR CDND.
SOO U. S. RTE. 3D
ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS 61071
1 MILE SOUTH OF Sterling
2 BLOCKS WEST OF ILL. SB ON U. S. 3D
U.S. 30 ROCK FALLS, ILLINOIS
RIGLER'S SMOKE RING
225 1st Avenue
Rock Falls, Illinois
HOBBIES & SPORTING GOODS
Commerce House Restaurant
HOME COOKED MEALS
209 1st Avenue Rock Fall s, 1 llinoi s
DAGGETT'S JEWEL BOX
"Across from the Post Office"
Rocky Terronez Barber Shop
1302;^ 8th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
DIRT - GRAVEL - AND END LOADER WORK
Authorized CASE dealer
Route 30 & 8th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
The Bright Spot Cafe
Beulah McAndrews - Mgr.
ROUTE 30 & 5th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
Herbert & Bernice Lehman - owners
518 12th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
Heating & Air Conditioning
308 East 7th Street Rock Falls, Illinois
Since this time, a number of memorial gifts have been made to
the church which have been used to add equipment to the church,
such as audio-visual equipment, office equipment, chancel furnish-
ing, pictures, etc. A spire has been added to the church roof, mak-
ing the brick colonial-type church more complete.
Under Rev. Dawson, a DriscoU Evangelistic Campaign was
conducted and 127 new members were added. At this time. Rev.
Shiffer was made Minister-Emeritus and continues in this capacity
Needing more space for the church school classes, a property
to the south of the church was purchased in February 1960, and
after remodeling the building, it was dedicated in June 1961 as "The
First Christian Church Annex." At present, this is the location of
the youth department of the church. The city of Rock Falls vacated
the street between the two church properties and deeded it to the
church. This has been made into a parking lot.
The church was first incorporated in 1900. In 1960, new incor-
poration papers were filed with the name of the church being changed
from "The Church of Christ (Disciples)" to "The First Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ)." The church is affiliated with the
Illinois Disciples of Christ, The International Convention of Chris-
tian Churches and Unified Promotion. The church operates under a
constitution which was accepted by the church in February 1962.
Following the resignation of Rev. Dawson to accept a charge in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rev. Donald C. Ward came to the church
as its pastor and continues at the present in that capacity.
Seventy years old this Centennial Year, The First Christian
Church continues in its tradition of freedom and Christian tradition,
and will continue to serve the community of Rock Falls .
A list of the ministers who have served this church is as follows:
Silas Jones (Sterling), 1898-1901; William E. Spicer (Sterling),
1901-03; W. A. Green, 1904-05; Roy A. Stauffer, 1906-07; C.F.
Ladd, 1907-09; J.W. Neslund, 1909-09; Roy A. Miller, 1911-15;
Thorp, 1915-16; Reins, 1916-16; Paul M. Cook, 1917-19; Harry
E. Shiffer, 1920-58; C. Richard Dawson, 1959-62;Donald C. Ward,
CONGRATULATIONS TO ROCK FALLS CENTENNIAL
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VAN PETTEN GRAIN CO.
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12th Avenue Rock Falls, Illinois
CAR-SKADEN BRAKE SERVICE
Clarence Car-Skaden, Owner
221 Avenue C Rock Falls, Illinois
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